Red Fish Restaurant is serving up Great Lakes whitefish to raise awareness and funds for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. Whitefish are one of the Great Lakes’ most commercially valuable species and have been praised for their taste and flavour for hundreds of years. You can try the fish the Ojibwe call “adikameg” and Fannie Farmer called “the finest fish found in the Great Lakes” before Sunday April 21 at Red Fish Restaurant. A portion of whitefish sales support Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.
With Earth Day right around the corner, we want to draw your attention to the amazing, inspiring creatures that live in the lake in our own backyard. Our survival as a community depends on their survival as a species. When you get to know a bit more about the whitefish and American eel - these fish, critters, and creatures that live in Lake Ontario - you understand better the magic of our “lake of shining waters”.
The whitefish is living proof that we CAN turn things around on the Great Lakes. It was nearly extinct in the 1950s because of overfishing, attacks from the sea lamprey, and loss of habitat. Then came Earth Day, the first environmental laws, and fishing regulation - the whitefish made a comeback. Whitefish are the proverbial canaries of a lake because they are so sensitive to changes in the environment. When whitefish populations are in decline, this is an indicator that a lake ecosystem is in trouble.
Lake Ontario whitefish are in trouble again. Development and industrial activity on the shoreline interferes with the whitefish’s ability to reproduce. Pollution kills off their food supply. Warmer winters and warmer water are especially challenging for these sensitive fish.
We don’t want to see whitefish go the way of the American eel, another fascinating creature that once thrived in Lake Ontario and is now endangered. (Artist and Waterkeeper supporter James Prosek partnered with PBS to create a documentary about these mysterious creatures that aired last night, now available online for Canadian viewers).
Lake Ontario is the only Great Lake that is considered to be in poor health and getting worse. The gains we have made in the last forty years haven’t exceeded the rate of decline. We need to do more. Our desire to protect Lake Ontario’s fragile fish populations is why Waterkeeper is part of a lawsuit to ensure the federal government complies with federal law regarding rebuilding and extending the operating life of the Darlington nuclear generating station. This project is a major opportunity to dramatically improve protections for Lake Ontario fish.
This Earth Day, in the spirit of embracing your inner fish-hugger, we want to know which fish YOU think should be Lake Ontario's of-FISH-al 2013 Earth Day Mascot. Should it be the reclusive whitefish or the adventurous American eel? Should it be the fish that rebounded from the brink of collapse, or the fish that still needs all the help it can get? You be the judge. Vote early, vote often, and spread the word!
WHO WILL BE LAKE ONTARIO’S of-FISH-al 2013 EARTH DAY MASCOT?
American eel vs. Whitefish
Vote now: http://bit.ly/EarthDayMascot
Voting ends Earth Day (Monday, April 22) at noon when we announce the winner.