Justine McAndrews

MSc Student 

Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

Research

My research focuses on implementing pre-release enrichment strategies on hatchery-reared Atlantic Salmon raised at the Normandale Fish Culture Station in Norfolk County, ON. In conglomeration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, my project aims to aid the restoration of self-sustaining Atlantic Salmon populations in Lake Ontario. Atlantic Salmon were extirpated from Lake Ontario in the late 1800’s and the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program, founded in 2006, has successfully reared and released millions of fish into surrounding rivers. The in-hatchery survival of Atlantic Salmon has peaked in recent years with the advancement of technology; therefore, the lack of observed population growth has been attributed to poor post-stocking survival. My research aims to increase post-stocking survival of hatchery-reared Atlantic Salmon by subjecting them to an 8-week training regime incorporating exposure to live food, live predators, and mimicked natural substrates.  Singularly these methods of environmental enrichment have shown great success, and my project plans to magnify that success in a large-scale production hatchery. Following training, both treatment and control fish will be tagged and stocked into the Duffins Creek to determine post-stocking survival. The successful re-establishment of Atlantic Salmon in Lake Ontario will increase Lake Ontario’s biodiversity, expand Ontario’s fishery, and preserve land-locked Atlantic Salmon species as they decline worldwide. My project would not be possible without the guidance of my co-supervisors, Aaron Fisk and Trevor Pitcher, the contributions of Culum Brown from Macquarie University, and dedication of Kevin Loftus and the staff at the Normandale Fish Culture Station.

Background


2019-Present
M.Sc. Environmental Science, Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor (Windsor, ON Canada). Co-supervised by Aaron Fisk and Trevor Pitcher.


2018
Fish and Wildlife Assistant
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Fish Culture Section (Peterborough, ON, Canada) 


2014-2018
B.Sc. Marine Biology, Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS, Canada)
Certificate of Environmental Assessment, Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS, Canada)

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