Port Hope's Ganaraska River is the first location on the Great Lakes to have the benefit of a video fish counter.
The device is lowered into the fish ladder at Corbett's Dam near Molson Street in Port Hope, 3 kilometres from Lake Ontario. As fish swim through the device, they are video recorded and experts can then count them, determine their weight, length and species to obtain a more accurate survey of fish populations in the Great Lakes. If the water is murky, the counter captures the image using infrared technology.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry introduced the device and the software that records its findings as an important step in the re-establishment of an Atlantic salmon population that has been almost wiped out. In 2016, the Ganaraska was stocked with young Atlantic Salmon and the Ministry will now be able to measure the success of its effort. The Ministry will be installing a second video monitor on the Credit River.
The video counter enumerates migratory salmon and trout and tracks water temperature and velocities. The images that are collected by the counter can be used to identify the species of fish and assist in determining if fish stocks continue to thrive in Lake Ontario.
In recent years, numbers have been climbing. A count of the Atlantic Salmon population is not expected until 2019 when adult fish will return to the Ganaraska to spawn.
Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson welcomed Ministry staff and representatives of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and credited their work as a boost to Port Hope's tourism.
In the photo above, the Ministry's Mike Yuille describes the video fish counter before it was submerged to do its work. Yuille said that the images can be shared such that he can monitor fish stock in the Ganaraska from the computer on his desk in Picton.