In order to re-establish a self-sustaining population of Atlantic Salmon in Lake Ontario and its tributaries, a large number of Atlantic Salmon must be stocked into the selected streams to form the basis of a recovering population. In 2006, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) committed to doubling their production to 400,000 fry. They also increased the number of their broodstock to make more eggs available in 2007 and beyond, and developed two additional broodstock populations of different genetic strains, for a total of three – LaHave River (Nova Scotia), Lac St. Jean (Quebec) and Sebago Lake (Maine). We stock spring yearlings, spring fry, and fall fingerlings from the three strains.
As the size of broodstock populations expanded, it reduced the capacity of MNRF facilities to produce fry and yearling fish. To meet this challenge, MNRF facilities were upgraded, while the capacity within OFAH clubs and other clubs to raise fish was also developed. The MNRF is responsible for all broodstock to ensure that the best genetic diversity is maintained and fish health protocols are followed.
Additionally, Fleming College’s Fish and Wildlife Program and Aquaculture Post-Graduate Certificate students operate the college’s fish hatchery facility for Atlantic Salmon. Students at the college participate in all aspects of the Atlantic Salmon restoration program, from raising fish in the hatchery, to stream and water quality rehabilitation, to stocking and monitoring fish and habitat quality.
If you’re interested in learning more about how the fish are raised, Metro East Anglers (Ringwood Fish Culture Station) has a documentary from 2013 that shows the hatchery process.