Hatchery production and research to support restoration of sustainable Coregonine populations in Lake Ontario (FY23, FY24)

Contributing Authors

Meredith Bartron (USFWS, meredith_bartron@fws.gov), Marry Miller (USFWS), Bill Archambault (USFWS), John Coll (USFWS), Kevin Cheung (USFWS)

Project Description

Coregonine species in the Great Lakes, such as Cisco and Bloaters, historically represented a substantial component of the forage base for native cold-water fish like Lake Trout and Atlantic Salmon. Extirpation or depletion of deepwater Bloater populations has left vast areas of the Laurentian Great Lakes devoid of an adequate prey fish community. The Department of the Interior is partnering in a broad-scale restoration program, including targeted research, in situ monitoring and assessment, and captive propagation for Bloaters and other coregonine species. Restoring native prey can improve the success of Lake Trout restoration efforts, as well as facilitate a trophic energy transfer role in Lake Ontario. Rearing of Bloater by USFWS-NEFC and USFWS-ANFH and other state, federal and provincial hatcheries is an essential element of the native prey restoration plan for Lake Ontario and has been requested by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Lake Ontario Committee (LOC) as a component of the Lake Ontario Plan. Starting in FY 23, USFWS-NEFC and USFWS-NANFH took on rearing and spawning bloater broodstock to provide an additional egg source for restoration of Lake Ontario in addition to the broodstocks maintained by Ontario. USFWS-produced eggs will be reared at USFWS-NEFC and USFWS-ANFH. This project requests funding for Bloater production and broodstock maintenance at USFWS facilities, necessary fish health support, and targeted research to improve and assess survival and fitness of hatchery products. Production activities rely on collaboration with many partners, including NYSDEC, U.S. Geological Survey Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science (USGS-TLAS), USGS Lake Ontario Biological Station (USGS-LOBS), USFWS Jordan River National Fish Hatchery (USFWS-JRNFH), and the Ontario Ministry of Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNDMNRF).

Funded In

Funding Agency


Restoration Framework Phase

Project Impact



Project Subjects