Fish research scientist to deliver special talk in Morrisburg, July 26

MORRISBURG — Matt Windle has developed a passion for the dozens of species of fish in the St. Lawrence River — particularly those species at risk like the American Eel.

Originally hailing from the Northwest Territories and a graduate of Newfoundland’s Memorial University, the St. Lawrence River Institute research scientist will lead a special public talk on the fish of the St. Lawrence River, 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, in the Dundas Room at the McIntosh Country Inn.

Recently moving to Morrisburg with his young family, Windle has travelled the waterways of Canada to study fish populations.

Several research projects are underway through the Cornwall-based Institute to study specific fish populations. Among others, Windle and his research team are currently studying small fish populations, which includes minnows and the young of larger sportfish. A collaboration with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Ontario Power Generation, their goal is to identify and map these populations along the St. Lawrence to inform habitat rehabilitation and recovery strategies. With students, partners, and local volunteers, the project aims to increase awareness on the importance of minnows as indicators of health to the St. Lawrence River ecosystem.

While many of the original fish stocks in the St. Lawrence have changed over the years, sports fishing enthusiasts still flock to stretches of the river, like Morrisburg, that are famous for their small and largemouth bass, northern pike, carp, and muskellunge. However, iconic species such as herring, sturgeon, American eels, and salmon are now at a fraction of their historic populations — the combined impact of pollution, invasive species, and commercial fishing, according to the Institute.

The July 26 session in Morrisburg is free and part of the St. Lawrence River Institute’s summer Science and Nature on Tour series — but space is limited. Reserve a seat by calling (613) 936-6620 (ext. 229) or e-mail Karen Cooper at the Institute — kcooper@riverinstitute.ca

The St. Lawrence water system — which includes the Great Lakes — drains more than a quarter of the Earth’s freshwater reserves.

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