The cisco (Coregonus artedi) and the bloater (Coregonus hoyi) both played critical roles in the trophic dynamics of the Great Lakes. They were the primary native prey species for top predator fish such as the lake trout. By the 1950’s, however, overfishing and competition with non-native, plankton-eating prey fish (alewife) caused the collapse of these native prey species, and subsequently contributed to the collapse of the lake trout fishery. Re-establishing sustainable populations of cisco and bloater in Lake Ontario, through propagation and stocking is the focus of a cooperative, international effort between the New York State Department of Environmental ConservationOntario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Northeast Fishery Center, Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, and the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery, the U.S. Geological Survey- Tunison Lab in New York, and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Since 2017, we have stocked out 555,000 cisco in Lake Ontario. Our efforts are now focused on restoring bloater in Lake Ontario. We are developing rearing capacity at the Northeast Fishery Center and at the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery to achieve annual stocking goal of 500,000 fingerling and yearling bloaters for Lake Ontario. We also are working to improve breeding and culture protocols, which we will share with our partners across the Great Lakes to help them restore bloater in other Lakes. Our collective efforts not only benefit lake trout but anglers will win too.

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Juvenile Northern Pike in aquarium at Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery, South Dakota
The Fish and Aquatic Conservation program leads aquatic conservation efforts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are committed to tackling the nation’s highest priority aquatic conservation and recreational challenges to conserve, restore, and enhance fisheries for future generations.


View of Allegheny National Fish Hatchery from the Kinzua Dam
The Allegheny National Fish Hatchery (ANFH), located in Warren, Pennsylvania produces lake trout and bloaters for restoration in Lakes Erie and Ontario. The hatchery is one of 11 National Fish Hatcheries throughout the Northeast Region working to restore, enhance and maintain heritage fisheries for...
A cisco fish with coloring dusky gray to bluish on the back, silvery on the sides, and white on the underside being held laying on its side across two hands.
The Northeast Fishery Center (Center), located in Lamar, PA includes the Lamar Fish Health Center and the Lamar National Fish Hatchery and Fish Technology Center. We help guide and conduct the science and technology needed to restore and conserve species and their habitats. Our research helps...