WESPEN Online Order Form print this page
US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

On the Road Again! Lake Sturgeon Off to New York to Assist in Cooperative Conservation

Region 3, November 13, 2012
Biologist uses clay to strip adhesive layer from lake sturgeon eggs to aid in shipping and hatchery incubation
Biologist uses clay to strip adhesive layer from lake sturgeon eggs to aid in shipping and hatchery incubation - Photo Credit: n/a
Lake sturgeon fingerlings being prepared for shipping
Lake sturgeon fingerlings being prepared for shipping - Photo Credit: n/a

The staff from the Genoa National Fish Hatchery were very glad to see off their lake sturgeon charges from New York this fall as they begin their life in the wild. It seems like long ago in late May staff from the Genoa hatchery assisted the New York Department of Conservation, U.S. Geological Survey's Tunison lab and the Fish and Wildlife Service's New York Field Office collect eggs from the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York. Biologists from Genoa were invited to participate in the egg collections due to our previous experience in egg and fingerling production, and to spread out efforts among cooperative conservation partners interested in restoring lake sturgeon populations in the St. Lawrence River basin.Eggs were brought back and successfully reared for stocking in the Salmon River, a tributary of the St. Lawrence River.

Lake sturgeon are considered endangered by the state of New York, with one of the last viable and reproducing population of lake sturgeon in the state residing in the boundary waters of the St. Lawrence River. The stocked fish were reared to over six inches in length, a size considered safe from most predators and large enough to individually tag with PIT tags. PIT tags are similar to grocery store bar codes, can be scanned externally, and are commonly placed in pets to be able to individually identify them. This will allow biologists to track and assess survival and individual reproductive success, if the fish are fortunate enough to stay alive for the 18 to 22 years that it will take to mature.

Drivers travelled through the night to reach the stocking destination, arriving at the stocking site 24 hours after leaving the beautiful west coast of Wisconsin. The truck was met by excited biologists from state and federal offices, and a tribal school from the St. Regis Mohawk tribe, who assisted in the stocking. A blessing was said by tribal officials, and the fish were released into their new home. Plans are being made for next year's egg take to help ensure that another year class of sturgeon may assist in rehabilitation efforts of this long lived and unique species of fish.

Contact Info: Doug Aloisi, 608-689-2605, Doug_Aloisi@fws.gov