Western prof to reintroduce extinct species in Lake Ontario

The Gazette by Haley Daniel – A Western researcher is receiving federal funding for reintroducing an extinct species back to Lake Ontario.

Western biology professor Bryan Neff received funding of approximately $600,000 to reintroduce Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario after being extinct from these waters for over 100 years due to overfishing and industrialization.

He received the funding from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Strategic Partnership Grants program. He is working with a team of around 40 other organizations, including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Neff stresses the importance of reintroducing Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario.

These fish provide a significant economic benefit to the Ontario economy — recreational fishing in brings in $2 billion a year. Atlantic salmon is popular to fish recreationally, so its reintroduction could strengthen this market.

He says that his team “released about a million baby salmon each year… but maybe a few hundred to a few thousand leave the streams and enter the lake and then only a handful, probably less than 10, return to any given river as an adult.”