Salmon on the move
New video initiative helps track fish as they travel along the Ganaraska River
PORT HOPE — A Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration open house at Corbett’s Dam showcased new fish counting and fish videorecording equipment which Mayor Bob Sanderson says is an important investment in the community, and tourism.
A new app links the video of fish going through the dam on their way up river to spawn, and is being piloted by the municipality’s tourism department. It also tells visitors how far they are from restaurants, accommodation and other businesses as they make their way along the Ganaraska. The goal is to draw tourists from the popular dam into the downtown core, the mayor explained during an interview.
Real-time video has not yet been achieved in the pilot project, as far as the mayor had been informed.
Among the fish moving upstream at this time of the year are Rainbow and Brown Trout, plus Chinook and Coho Salmon, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s (MNRF) Mike Yuille.
He is part of the Lake Ontario Management Unit that assesses and monitors near shore and off shore fish communities.
Last year, the ministry, together with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and other partners continued their program of reintroducing Atlantic Salmon into streams and rivers that flow into Lake Ontario.
In an effort to re-establish the fish into the Ganaraska River, they put yearlings into it. Some were identified as they went downstream towards Lake Ontario, Yuille said.
By 2019, if all goes according to plan, adult Atlantic Salmon will be caught on camera making the trek from Lake Ontario upstream to spawn.
They can be identified most easily because a rear fin was removed from the yearlings, he explained.
With an investment of $120,000plus, new fish counting and fish video recording equipment has been installed in a cage that can be lowered and raised at Corbett’s Dam for those purposes.
MNRF’s David Brown noted that the project is good for the Atlantic Salmon fish restoration program and for the Municipality of Port Hope. He said he was pleased this watershed is involved in it.
“Restoring a species is not something we take lightly,” Brown said.
Earlier during the open house, Sanderson said the municipality is working to stop illegal fishing but not to halt legal fishing in the Ganaraska River that runs through the municipality’s downtown core and into Lake Ontario.
He noted that when citizens were asked what was important to them in their community, it was an investment in the Ganaraska River.
“That was even over lowering taxes,” the mayor said.
It is important to educate people and especially children about the environment, he said, adding that this includes different ethnic groups drawn by the fish in the Ganaraska River.
Restoring a species is not something we take lightly.” MNRF’s David Brown
Mike Yuille of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is part of the Lake Ontario Management Unit that assesses and monitors near shore and offshore fish communities. A wall of monitors displays fish caught on video in new $120,000-plus worth of equipment installed at Corbett's Dam in Port Hope.
A still picture from a video of fish passing through Corbett's Dam in Port Hope on its way upstream in the Ganaraska River to spawn.