Led by Mayor Paul Dyster, City of Niagara Falls officials released 2,500 young Channel Catfish into Hyde park lake. While news of a restocked waterway will excite local fishing enthusiasts, the fish will also play a role in improving the lake's ecosystem.
Dyster explained that by introducing the catfish into the lake, other overpopulated species will eventually be adjusted to more appropriate sizes.
"When they're in the two- to three-pound size, they're actually very pretty fish, sleek and silvery," Dyster said. "They're an aggressive predator that feeds much like a walleye or a northern pike. They eat a lot of small fish during that stage of growth. That's what we're counting on, to clean up an abundance of little tiny sunfish and perch, and so on, that we have in the lake."
New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation also releases fish, usually brown trout, into the urban waterway. The mayor explained that those fish are usually caught more quickly, brought home and consumed.
He recommends waiting for the catfish to grow.
"What we're aiming for here is a more sustainable sport fishing resource in Hyde Park Lake," he said.
The catfish were purchased using $5,000 from a Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative grant to develop sustainability in small cites.