World Aquaculture Society Meetings

THE APPLICATION OF CULTURE TECHNIQUES TO RESTORE LAKE WHITEFISH Coregonus clupeaformis AS AN INTEGRAL COMPONENT OF THE COLDWATER FISH COMMUNITY OF OTSEGO LAKE, NY, USA

Daniel Garrett*, Samantha Carey, Kevin C. Thomas, Brent C. Lehman, John R. Foster, Mark D. Cornwell, Scott M. Wells, Daniel S. Stich
State University of New York
Fisheries, Wildlife & Environmental Science Department
112 Rockland Lane, Cobleskill NY 12043
garretd606@cobleskill.edu  
 
 

Lake Whitefish (LWF), a key component of the coldwater fish fauna of Otsego Lake was decimated by the introduction of alewives in the 1980's. With the recent collapse of the alewife population, the restoration of the native coldwater ecology of Otsego Lake is now feasible. A collaborative effort to enhance LWF in Otsego Lake is now underway, involving the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cobleskill, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. The goal of this project is to spawn and propagate offspring of local LWF to provide ~6,000 LWF annually for stocking back into Otsego Lake. LWF stocking is expected to jump start the recovery of the LWF population and balance the coldwater ecology, as has been done in other lakes (Gerdeaux 2002).

Boat electrofishing, trap netting and fry emergence traps were used to discover three LWF spawning shoals in Otsego Lake. In December 2015, 18 ripe LWF were captured at Sunken Island and processed to record length, weight, sex, and age via scale samples. The LWF captured ranged from 6-13 years old, were 521-629 mm long and weighed 1.7-2.9 kg, respectively.

A total of three females and 10 males LWF were field spawned on 9-10 December, 2015 producing over 70,000 eggs for incubation. Milt from a minimum of three males was used to fertilize the eggs of each female. Eggs were disinfected with 50 ppm iodine following USFWS protocols, and incubated in three McDonald jars for 350 degree days at 8.6o C. Eggs were treated with formalin three times a week and picked daily to remove mortalities. Fertilization rate was ~80%, eye-up rate ~60% and hatch rate was ~35%.

LWF fry were fed a live diet of rotifers and brine shrimp, supplemented by semi-moist starter diet and Otohime fry diet following OMNR 2010. Fingerlings were fed Otohime, Ziegler trout diet supplemented by brine shrimp, live wild plankton, vinegar, grindal and micro-worms. Growth and condition of fry and fingerlings were monitored by length-weight measurements. Growth was 0.6 mm/day similar to Raisanen & Behmer (1982). Fry reached 1g for theoretical spring stocking in 100 days. Fingerlings are expected to reach 40g for a potential fall stocking, 200 days post hatch.







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