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DEC: First documented lake trout reproduction in Lake Erie in more than 60 years

Lake Trout Fry
Posted at 3:09 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 08:22:18-04

WESTFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — Department of Environmental Conservation officials announced that Lake Erie had its first lake trout reproduction in more than 60 years, near Barcelona Harbor in Chautauqua County.

Officials say the discovery is the result of an acoustic telemetry study, conducted by DEC expert staff and partners, after finding potential spawning areas in eastern Lake Erie.

DEC staff collected multiple, recently hatched fry in fry traps on a rock reef near Westfield in May.

“Today marks a key milestone in the restoration of lake trout in Lake Erie after six decades of significant investments to improve water quality and habitat and promote sound fisheries management,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “This phenomenal Great Lakes story of recovery is a testament to the perseverance of the researchers and biologists from DEC and partner agencies who worked tirelessly to help restore this fishery.”

The DEC says commercial fishery had all but ceased, and by 1965, lake trout were considered extirpated from Lake Erie.

"Just having that breakthrough and knowing that all the effort that you put forth so far is actually making progress," said James Markham, an aquatic biologist with the DEC. He's been working on restoring the lake trout population in Lake Erie for decades.