Great Lakes Sustainable Recreational and Commercial Fisheries

New York’s Great Lakes region consists of Lakes Ontario and Erie, their tributaries, and the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers. 

Lakes Erie and Ontario boast some of the most successful ecological and economic comebacks in the modern history of the Great Lakes. From the ashes of ecological disasters created from almost 150 years of commercial overfishing, loss of many native fish species, habitat destruction, excessive nutrient inputs, toxic contamination, and exotic species introductions, two of the preeminent sportfisheries in the world have been established.

Anglers from all over the world come to fish in open waters of Lake Ontario and in the numerous tributaries and streams primarily for trophy-sized trout and salmon, smallmouth bass and panfish. New York’s Great Lakes region has also seen rebounding in the commercial fisheries of yellow perch and brown bullhead.

With so many communities along New York’s Great Lakes’ shores dependent on economic revenues generated from fishing-related businesses, information on socioeconomic trends is critically important to these small business owners so as to better manage, market and promote their businesses. 

New York Sea Grant’s role has been to develop and disseminate educational materials which have been effective in helping these entrepreneurs adapt their business strategies. For example, information based on fisheries trends can help stakeholders better anticipate changes in marketing and promotional emphasis in offshore versus inshore fisheries, bait and tackle choices, angling techniques and target species sought.

As hundreds of businesses in New York State and the Province of Ontario depend on economic revenues generated by the world-class sportfisheries in Lakes Erie and Ontario, there has been escalating concern for the future sustainability of the fishery among researchers, fisheries managers and fishery stakeholder groups due to changes in nutrient loading, forage base instability and its assessment, non-indigenous species impacts, heavy stocking pressure, resource utilization issues, cormorant predation and the overall complexity of managing large ecosystems. Such concerns are often attributable to a combination of factors related to ecosystem uncertainty and risk management.

We hope that the information found on this Web site will be of help to both the resource users and the research/management community.

To learn more about Sustainable Recreational and Commercial Fisheries, click programs/topics or history in the left column.

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