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University of Windsor

Fish conservation centre will allow study of endangered species

A new research centre will be the only one of its kind in Canada to focus on conservation and breeding programs for endangered species of fish, according to the UWindsor scientist who will be its first director.

The Freshwater Fish Conservation Centre will allow researchers to understand the genetics, reproduction, behaviour. and ecology of species such as lake sturgeon, Aurora trout, redside dace, and spotted gar, said Trevor Pitcher, an assistant professor in biology.

"It’s going to be a natural laboratory right in the Detroit River, exactly where a lot of these endangered species can be found," Dr. Pitcher said. "We have one of the highest concentrations of fish species at risk right here, so that’s what makes it such a great location.”

The centre is being built by the Town of LaSalle with $375,000 in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Foundation. and in-kind contributions from the university and the municipality, which has earmarked $1.3 million to upgrade the LaSalle Waterfront Park where the centre will be built.

Expected to open this summer, the centre will be located on the Detroit River at the foot of Laurier Drive and will also provide learning opportunities for area schoolchildren through the Adopt a Fish program.

Read "A five-star fish hotel to go and mate" in the February 20 edition of the Windsor Star.

Trevor Pitcher will be director of the Freshwater Fish Conservation Centre slated to open in LaSalle this summer.