NY Sea Grant Great Lakes Specialist Recognized by Women of Fisheries
Great Lakes Sustainable Recreational and Commercial Fisheries - Press Release

New York Sea Grant’s Great Lakes Fisheries Specialist Stacy Furgal holds an adult lake trout aboard a research vessel on Lake Ontario. Credit: USGS Lake Ontario Biological Station 


Stacy Furgal, New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Health Specialist, E: slf85@cornell.edu, P: (315) 312-3042 

Kara Lynn Dunn, NYSG's Great Lakes Freelance Publicist, E: karalynn@gisco.net, P: 315-465-7578 

Williamstown, NY, August 29, 2022 - New York Sea Grant’s Great Lakes Fisheries Specialist Stacy Furgal has recently been recognized by Women of Fisheries as one of six co-authors of an article on lake trout stocking into Lake Ontario. The article was published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Women of Fisheries, Inc. is a Florida-based nonprofit organization of more than 1,700 women that aims to connect, support, and amplify the voices of women in fisheries science.

Women of Fisheries posted recognition of Furgal’s work with collaborators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Geological Survey, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the University of Vermont to evaluate the post-stocking status and dispersal of juvenile lake trout in Lake Ontario. That posting appeared as the August Research Highlight: Stocking, key to recovery of a native top predator” on August 8, 2022, at womenoffisheries.org.

Furgal, a native of Williamstown in Oswego County, New York, grew up fishing on Lake Ontario, the Salmon River, and Oneida Lake. She is part of a group of researchers, led by Alexander Gatch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, investigating what happens after lake trout are stocked and what may be limiting them from reproducing in the wild.

Gatch explained, “Lake trout are a native freshwater fish and a significant recreational sport fishing species. Lake trout have been stocked into Lake Ontario since the 1950s, after their population was extirpated from the lake. However, the stocking program has not led to the natural recovery of the fish, prompting this research.”  

The research team applied the use of acoustic telemetry as a novel way to collect data and calculate the magnitude and timing of post-release mortality and movements of the fish at a much finer scale than previously possible. 

Over a 15-month period, mortality of the 38 hatchery-reared, age-1 lake trout that were tagged was estimated at 26%.

“This research was unique in the use of acoustic telemetry with the fish going into the lake at this young life stage. The data captured with this technology offers insight into juvenile lake trout behavior that can be used to inform future restoration research, particularly when identifying and evaluating future stocking locations and considering suitable locations for survival of naturally-reproduced juveniles,” said Furgal.

The researchers found tagged fish stayed in the area for up to two months following stocking, indicating that the stocking area contained favorable conditions for the young fish. Warmer water temperatures and other factors cause the fish to later move into deeper habitats. 

New York Sea Grant Director Rebecca Shuford, Ph.D. noted, “New York Sea Grant is thrilled that Women of Fisheries has recognized Stacy and her contributions to fisheries research, management, and education through this important collaborative initiative that is adding essential science to the knowledge base needed to support a self-sustaining native lake trout fishery in Lake Ontario.”

Furgal earned her undergraduate and Master’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology and Management at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York. She became New York Sea Grant’s Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Health Specialist in January 2021, bringing her experience with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and as a New York Sea Grant Watercraft Inspection Steward during her student intern days.

Stakeholder groups of anglers, fisheries managers, and conservationists interested in learning more about New York’s Great Lakes fisheries may contact Stacy Furgal at New York Sea Grant, 315-312-3042, SGOswego@cornell.edu

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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