The draft Stocking Plan for the Canadian waters of Lake Ontario (Plan) was developed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Lake Ontario Management Unit (LOMU) with the support of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the advice of the Fisheries Management Zone 20 Advisory Council (FMZ 20). The purpose of this document is to examine current/past stocking activities and to develop an updated plan to guide future stocking practices from 2015 - 2024 to help achieve lake-wide and local fisheries management objectives. It is also hoped that the draft Plan will help; inform and engage stakeholders in fisheries management including fish culture practices and associated challenges and opportunities related to stocking fish; ensure that stocking activities are aligned to bi-national and provincial objectives; and help meet Ontario’s obligations under the Environmental Assessment act to review ongoing stocking of non-native species.
The draft Plan covers all fish stocking activities by MNRF and partners into the Ontario waters of FMZ 20 including migratory species intended for Lake Ontario that are stocked into Lake Ontario tributaries in FMZ 16 and FMZ 17. The draft Plan outlines detail and rationale for species specific stocking activities from 2015 – 2024 thereby establishing a link between stocking activities and the Lake Ontario Fish Community Objectives. It also presents contextual information that informs the reader about the decision making process including the process of managing and mitigating risk.
No previous stocking plan exists for Lake Ontario. Prior to the development of this draft Plan, stakeholders and the public know little about the objectives and constraints of Lake Ontario’s stocking program. The draft Plan articulates social and science based rationale for stocking activities ensuring that decisions reflect current ecological realities (lake and watershed) as well as stakeholder needs and current government priorities. As such, it is anticipated that the draft Plan will serve to enhance fisheries management through transparency, accountability, greater public involvement and partnerships.