Long-term restoration efforts yielding positive results
CLAREMONT – Today the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and its Bring Back the Salmon partners celebrated the launch of the third five-year phase of the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program.
Also known as Bring Back the Salmon, the program involves more than 40 partners working to restore the once thriving Atlantic Salmon to Lake Ontario and its tributaries.
The OFAH and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) head the initiative, with integral support from lead sponsor Ontario Power Generation (OPG), TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and multiple conservation authorities, including Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority and Credit Valley Conservation.
The Bring Back The Salmon program includes fish stocking, habitat rehabilitation, research and education. MNRF is raising production salmon in two facilities in addition to Fleming College raising Atlantic Salmon in its teaching hatchery, while OPG’s Pickering nuclear station and TRCA’s Claremont Field Centre, along with almost 100 other facilities, also play host to small Atlantic Salmon classroom hatcheries.
The program was launched in 2006 and in 2014, a major scientific review was undertaken that has influenced the program’s new five-year Phase 3 (2016-2020) strategy. There are promising signs that this long-term restoration effort is working – as evidenced by the introduction of a catch-and-release in Fisheries Management Zones 16 and 17 starting this year. Other benefits include the almost 200 coldwater stream habitat restoration projects completed over the last 10 years.
Moving forward, a main focus of the third phase of the program will be geared towards tracking the movements and number of adult Atlantic Salmon.
“The Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program has been described as a cornerstone of the province’s biodiversity strategy, and in the new phase, we are looking to increase and measure the number of adults returning to the target rivers,” said OFAH LOASRP coordinator Chris Robinson.
The success of the program wouldn’t be possible without the support of many, including lead sponsor OPG.
“OPG has a long history of biodiversity protection. We believe we have a responsibility to all our wild neighbours — whether they be finned, feathered or four-legged. Healthy lakes and rivers teeming with fish and other species are inextricably linked to our own well being and survival. We’re proud to continue our support of the Bring Back the Salmon Program until 2021,” said OPG president and CEO Jeff Lyash.
TRCA has also played an important role in the development and implementation of the program along Duffins Creek and the Humber River since its inception.
“Like all of the partners in the Bring Back the Salmon program, we want to see the returning adult fish establish a self-sustaining population in Duffins Creek. We are proud to invest the time, energy, and expertise to make Duffins Creek one of the healthiest rivers in the GTA with a native salmon population” said Christine Tu, a senior aquatic ecologist and advisor to the LOASRP from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 735 member clubs, the OFAH is the province’s largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.bringbackthesalmon.ca or follow Bring Back The Salmon on Facebook (ontariosalmon) and Twitter (@ontariosalmon).
Altlantic Salmon Restoration Program Coordinator
705-748-6324 ext. 237
Manager of Communications
705-748-6324 ext. 270