Fish die-off in Pennsylvania hatchery – 03/09/2006

  • November 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm #1160

    Hi All,
    This AP release is a bit short of facts but here it is.
    One would naturally ask “what disease is referred to at the
    Allegheny Fish Hatchery?”

    Well, it could be part of a natural cycle, or is it the continuing
    algae plague that has been seen from coast to coast for the past 12
    months. Most recently described as a “Jubilee”; which to my
    knowledge is a first.

    One important fact read here, is the natural balancing within
    nature, without man-made manipulation.
    Troubled waters for lake fish

    Invaders thrive as trout stock plummets
    Misty Edgecomb
    Staff writer
    (March 9, 2006) — HENRIETTA — The complex web of interrelationships
    in Lake Ontario never fails to surprise, said state and federal
    fisheries biologists who held an annual “State of the Lake” meeting
    Wednesday night at Rochester Institute of Technology.
    The declining population of native lake trout continues to be a
    concern, with numbers down 50 percent since last year and 71 percent
    since peak populations in the 1980s. And fishermen can expect
    particularly challenging seasons for lake trout over the next few
    years because the state’s stocking program, which supplements
    naturally reproducing lake trout populations, suffered a blow this

    A disease outbreak at the Allegheny Fish Hatchery in Pennsylvania
    killed the 500,000 lake trout destined for Lake Ontario, so little
    stocking will be available to help the natural population this year,
    said Bill Culligan, Great Lakes section head for the Department of
    Environmental Conservation.

    To stop the spread of the infectious pancreatic necrosis, or IPN,
    more than 700,000 fish at the Warren, Pa., hatchery were destroyed
    last fall.

    Only about 110,000 fish could be diverted from the Finger Lakes for
    stocking in Lake Ontario. The impact on lake trout populations could
    linger for several years. But because the stocked fish will come
    from a hatchery known for its quality, some of that effect will be
    muted, Culligan said.

    “We’re only going to have one-fifth as many fish, but we think
    they’re going to survive twice as well,” Culligan said.

    Meanwhile, fisheries surveys reported mixed news on invasive species
    in the lake. The round goby, a small fish native to the Black and
    Caspian seas, seems to be thriving. The fish has infiltrated all the
    Great Lakes and was first discovered in Lake Ontario in 1998. Now it
    has moved into the Erie Canal and is expected to colonize inland

    “They’re reaching critical mass. They’re really going to start to
    take off in New York,” said Robert O’Gorman, a U.S. Geological
    Survey scientist based in Oswego.

    Initially, biologists feared that the bottom-dwelling fish would
    push out other, native minnows and wouldn’t be an attractive prey
    for large game fish. But studies indicate that lake trout as well as
    bass and cormorants are feeding on the goby.

    And worries that gobies would feed so heavily upon smallmouth bass
    eggs that populations would plunge haven’t been realized, even in
    the most heavily infested areas, O’Gorman said.
    “Our greatest fears are not going to come true, I think,” he said.

    Meanwhile sea lampreys, leech-like fish native to the Atlantic
    coast, may be causing more problems as Great Lakes invaders.
    Lampreys have long been a success story of invasive species control,
    but as more and more rivers are cleaned up, their available habitat
    is expanding, O’Gorman said.

    “The whole food web has changed,” O’Gorman said.

    One holdout from the native Lake Ontario population mix, the
    deepwater sculpin, seems to be making a comeback. This year’s trawl
    surveys counted 17 of the small bottom-dwelling fish, when only five
    were caught over the past seven surveys. It’s believed that the
    sculpin, which was once an important food source for lake trout, all
    but disappeared in the 1960s, before scientific fisheries surveys

    “This year we literally hit the mother lode,” O’Gorman said. “I
    think it says a lot about our ecosystem and its ability to recover
    from past abuses.”

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