The state DNR has released thousands of Atlantic salmon into Lake Huron in an effort to boost the fishery’s salmon populations.
According to the Grand Haven Tribune, the state Department of Natural Resources released 19,500 Atlantic salmon earlier this week into Lexington Harbor located 70 miles northeast of Detroit.
This is the second year the DNR has stocked the salmon in the harbor, where chinook salmon populations are dwindling.
Approximately 60,000 Atlantic salmon have already been stocked in the Thunder Bay and AuSable rivers, which empty into lake Huron.
Wildlife officials said the stocking is an experiment to see if the Atlantic salmon can replace the disappearing Chinooks.
“We’re having to try many new things in Lake Huron in order to maintain our cold-water fishery because the food web has changed so dramatically,” said DNR official Jim Baker. “We’re having to look at new species to help fill the void left by the Chinook,” he said.
The released juvenile Atlantic salmon are 4 to 6 inches long. Wildlife officials estimate they will grow to be 16 inches by next year.
In order to spawn, Atlantic salmon return to the rivers they were born in, but because these fish did not have a river to imprint on, they will likely return to the area where they were released in the Lexington Harbor.
Salmon numbers are improving in the nearby St. Mary’s River, where biologists from Lake Superior State University have been stocking salmon for years.
The DNR is hoping to recreate the university’s success in Lake Huron.
Do you think the DNR’s experiment to boost Atlantic salmon in Lake Huron will work?
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons