April 18, 2008
Enhanced Stocking Program Celebrates 10th Successful Season
Scott Prindle, fisheries biologist with the DEC's Region 7 office in Cortland, watches as fingerling salmon are released into a net pen at the Oswego East Side Marina on April 18. The fingerlings were reared from eggs harvested at the Salmon River Fish Hatchery last fall. Volunteer members of the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association will feed them in the pens until they are large enough to survive on their own in Lake Ontario. (Photo by Kelly Jordal, Oswego County Tourism Office.)
STOCKING PROGRAM - DEC staff and volunteers gathered at the Oswego Marina April 18 as 60,000 fingerling steelhead and chinook salmon were delivered into net pens where they will be reared for several weeks. The project is a joint effort of the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association, DEC and several community partners. Brookfield Renewable Power and the Oswego County Pro-Am Salmon and Trout Team Tournament donated $1,000 to help offset the costs of the net-pen program. From left are Scott Prindle, fisheries biologist, Department of Environmental Conservation; Jonathan Daniels, director of the Port of Oswego Authority, charter captain Gerry Bresadola; charter captain Dave Wilson; David Turner, director of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning; Jon Elmer, general manager, Brookfield Renewable Power; and Bob Walters, owner of Oswego East Side Marina.
A cooperative effort between the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association (ELOSTA) and the NYS DEC that was launched in 1998 officially began its 11th season today as over 60,000 small trout and salmon were released into the rearing pens in the Oswego harbor.
Net-pen rearing is a process where fingerlings are introduced to the lake over a period of time by first placing them in sheltered pens where they remain for three to four weeks. During that time volunteers from ELOSTA feed and watch over the fish until they have become acclimated to the lake water and grown slightly beyond the fingerling stage. The pens are then towed out into the lake and the trout and salmon are released.
That project received a $1,000 boost today with a donation by Brookfield Renewable Power and the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon and Trout Tournament series.
Speaking on behalf of the lakewide tournament committee, David Turner, Oswego tournament director, thanked Brookfield and noted that their support would be particularly beneficial to the Lake Ontario fishery. “The tournament has always used part of its proceeds to support the 'pen-stocking' programs along the lake,” Turner said, “but Brookfield's support will help us even further. The company believes in environmental stewardship and when they recognized the value added by the pen programs, they asked that half of their donation be directed straight to that effort.”
Jon Elmer, Brookfield's General Manager for the Lake Ontario region said, “Brookfield is very happy to support the tournament again this year. It is a great example of the how the public and private sector works together to enhance the lake's environment.”
While accepting the contribution for ELOSTA and thanking Brookfield and the other Pro/Am sponsors, Captain Gerry Bresadola, an original member of the pen project committee said, “We also want to recognize Bob Walters from the Oswego Marina for loaning us the space necessary for this project. The net pens in Oswego have proven their worth by producing healthy, lake ready fish.”
According to Dan Bishop, DEC Region 7 Fisheries Manager, “An evaluation of the steelhead pen rearing project at Oswego revealed that pen reared fish returned nearly 7:1 compared to direct stocked fish. As a result, we now pen rear all 20,000 steelhead stocked at Oswego.” Bishop added that, “The project would not be successful without the dedicated volunteers that provide daily care for the fish while the fish are in the pens.”
Oswego County's 14th annual Pro-Am tournament takes place July 12 and 13 out of the ports of Oswego and Mexico. The series begins in Niagara County May 31 and June 1; moves to Orleans County June 7 and 8; Oswego July 12 and 13; and concludes July 19 and 20 in Wayne County.
For 2008 tournament information, contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-348-8322, , or visit the Pro-Am Web page at www.lakeontarioproam.com.
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