SUNY Cobleskill Fisheries & Aquaculture students and faculty traveled to San Antonio, Texas, on February 19-22 for “Aquaculture America 2017,” the annual international conference and exhibition of the World Aquaculture Society. The conference is one of the world’s largest meetings of professional aquaculturists, with more than 3,000 attendees from nearly 60 countries.

Hatchery Manager Brent Lehman and students Melissa Miller, Jason Ratchford, Dylan McGarry and Dan Garrett presented the results of research they’ve been conducting in the course of their studies at SUNY Cobleskill. They met with distinguished Fisheries & Aquaculture alumnus Dakota Raab, who is now a graduate student at Kentucky State University.

“Our Fisheries & Aquaculture undergraduate research program is second to none,” said John Foster, founder of the program and Professor of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Sciences at SUNY Cobleskill. “The World Aquaculture Society conference shows that our students’ research projects successfully compete against the work of graduate researchers and professionals.”

Below are summaries of the research presented at the conference:


THE UTILIZATION OF WATERCRESS IN A CONSTRUCTED NATURALISTIC STREAM TO TREAT HATCHERY EFFLUENT
Dylan M. McGarry, John R. Foster, Brent C. Lehman, Dakota J. Raab & Kenneth P. Bannister

17239856_1257235784354143_4419539162103328701_oIncreasing effluent regulations have put pressure on the aquaculture industry to develop new strategies for treating hatchery effluent.  The Fisheries and Aquaculture Program at the State University of New York at Cobleskill has developed a low maintenance, low cost method of reducing the discharge of solids and nutrients from the campus’ 40,000-gallon recirculating trout hatchery. Our research showed that a constructed naturalistic stream planted with watercress and coupled with a settling basin effectively controlled nutrients and solids year round, without the capital and resource requirements of mechanical filters.


POND CULTURE OF PUGNOSE SHINERS Notropis anogenus IS A FEASIBLE STRATEGY FOR RESTORING EXTIRPATED POPULATIONS IN NEW YORK WATERS
Jason M. Ratchford*, John R. Foster, Brent C. Lehman, Douglas M. Carlson, Scott Schlueter and Michael Soukup

17159055_1257242584353463_4178945348613547692_o Pugnose Shiners are endangered in New York, being rare in the St. Lawrence and extirpated from Cayuga Lake and most of Lake Ontario. This project was initiated to demonstrate the feasibility of utilizing pond culture techniques to produce enough Pugnose Shiners to restore them in their native range in New York State. This is the first study demonstrating the feasibility of pond culture of Pugnose Shiners and the potential for this technique to restore this species to its native range and abundance in New York State. Thousands of Pugnose Shiners were produced on campus and stocked into Lake Ontario the first year of the project. Culture techniques refined by this project may also be applicable to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Canada, where this species is of special concern, threatened or endangered. (Douglas M. Carlson of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Scott Schlueter of the US Fish & Wildlife Service collaborated on this project).


BENTHIC SUBSTRATE ENHANCES EARLY SURVIVAL OF AUSTRALIAN REDCLAW CRAYFISH Cherax quadricarinatus  IN A RECIRCULATING NURSERY SYSTEM
Melissa A. Miller*, John R. Foster, Brent C. Lehman & Devon C. Oliver

17157730_1257235787687476_5969555833533712396_oAustralian redclaw crayfish, also known as freshwater lobsters, are a new and promising aquaculture species. Fast growth rates, easy care and maintenance, combined with a high market value make this species attractive to the aquaculture industry. However, development of a domestic freshwater lobster industry is largely hampered by the need for a reliable supply of seed stock. This study examined two types of benthic substrate to determine whether production of 45-day old craylings could be enhanced. The addition of substrate significantly increased survival and production of craylings. Matala performed better than the coarse rock, because it had higher survival and was easier to handle for capturing the craylings.


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

17240700_1257241467686908_2414031308356026668_oLake Whitefish (locally called Otsego Bass) were once extremely abundant in Otsego Lake, supporting both a sport and commercial fishery into the 1980’s. This key component of the cold-water fish fauna of Otsego Lake was decimated by the introduction of alewives in 1986. With the recent collapse of the alewife population, the restoration of Lake Whitefish to the native cold-water ecology and fisheries of Otsego Lake is now feasible. This presentation documents the collaborative effort to enhance Lake Whitefish in Otsego Lake lead by SUNY Cobleskill, partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. SUNY Cobleskill students field spawned Lake Whitefish eggs and reared them at SUNY Cobleskill’s Endangered Fishes Hatchery through the fry and fingerlings stages. The culture techniques refined by this project will be pivotal in restoring Lake Whitefish to the cold-water ecology of Otsego Lake.