Travel East Pays Big Dividends in Fisheries Conservation
BY DOUG ALOISI, GENOA NFH
A trip from Wisconsin to the East Coast, in early June, by Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) staff, accomplished several different objectives in one long journey. Our first goal was to transport a brood line of Klondike Reef lake trout to the Berkshire NFH in Massachusetts to support the Fish and Wildlife Service's efforts to restore lake trout populations in the lower Great Lakes.
This lot of fish had been reared from wild eggs obtained in the fall of 2012 and quarantined to ensure that no fish diseases had been brought in with the eggs. After three fish health examinations in 18 months, the fish were released to the Iron River and the Berkshire NFHs. At these facilities the lake trout should produce eggs for many years to come to support re-stocking efforts in Lakes Erie and Michigan.
The lake trout were transported in early June to also coincide with the lake sturgeon spawning and egg collection activities on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York (NY). Personnel from Genoa NFH joined biologists from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Geological Survey office at Cortland NY, and the FWS's New York Field Office to collect eggs for propagation in New York's lake sturgeon restoration efforts. Over 40,000 eggs were taken, disinfected and brought back to Genoa NFH for rearing. Once the fish reach fingerling size in the fall (5-7 inches) they will be transported back to upper New York State for release. During the trip, over 40 hours of road time carried two very different species to two very different fisheries facilities over 1100 miles apart.
Life can be interesting by just its varied experiences, and the aquatic resources field has had plenty of these varied experiences to keep us occupied this spring.