Guided by Fish and Wildlife Program Coordinator Al Chamberlain and supervised by Fisheries Technician and Instructor Sasha Fernando, the project at the Frost Campus Fish Hatchery initially expected to rear between 200 and 500 muskellunge from their green egg life stage to fall fingerlings. However, the project has already succeeded in stocking out more than 1,000 fall fingerling muskellunge averaging seven to 10 inches in length with more to be stocked out later this fall.
"The Fleming College muskellunge research facility has been so successful due to a committed team of faculty, staff, student workers and volunteer help. Anytime you deal with raising live animals it becomes a 24-hour a day job. Attention to detail and following a strict regime of daily fish culture practices have contributed to our success," says Mr. Fernando.
Following strict rearing protocols, applying the methods of a previously successful reintroduction, and excellent support from the staff at Frost Campus all played a role in exceeding the project's goals, added Mr. Chamberlain
The college raised the fall fingerlings in support of the Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Restoration Project. Muskellunge are native to Lake Simcoe but overharvest, habitat loss and ecological change led to their demise, says Mr. Fernando. As part of their field experience, second- and third-year students in the Fish and Wildlife program will participate in stocking the fish throughout October and November.
In Canada, the range of the muskellunge extends throughout the St. Lawrence River and all of the Great Lakes, to many inland waters of Ontario and Quebec. Its preferred habitat is warm, vegetated lakes, bays, and slow-flowing rivers. The muskellunge is a predatory species whose main food source is other fish.
Muskies Canada Sport Fishing and Research Incorporated or Muskies Canada Inc. was founded in 1978. It is an angling club whose interests extend beyond the mere catching of fish and whose goals include the protection and enhancement of the sport fishery for muskellunge in Canada through the wise use of the muskellunge resource, research, habitat protection and improvement, and scientific studies of the species. For more information on the Muskellunge Restoration Project and other Muskies Canada programs, visit www.muskiescanada.ca
The Frost Campus Fish Hatchery is also home to the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Project, now in its second year. The hatchery has been successful in raising Atlantic salmon for release into designated watersheds such as the Cobourg Creek and Credit River for the eventual restoration of Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario.
Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campuses in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 90 full-time programs in Law and Justice, Community Development, Health and Wellness, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Technology and Skilled Trades, Fine Arts, and Business. Fleming College has more than 5,000 full-time and 10,000 part-time students and 50,000 alumni.
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