|A male bloater, a type of deepwater cisco, collected from Lake Michigan. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS|
A type of deepwater cisco, the bloater is an important part of the Great Lakes food web providing important nutrients to native predator fish such as lake trout. Yet their populations are low, if not completely extinguished, in much of the Great Lakes due to over-fishing, invasive species and habitat degradation. An effort by the Service at the request of the state of New York and the province of Ontario aims to restore bloater populations in Lake Ontario, which will help to support growing populations of lake trout and Atlantic salmon. The lessons learned as part of this effort will help to guide cisco restoration efforts in other parts of the Great Lakes.