Annual ‘Frostfish’ egg collection conducted in Adirondacks, to bolster endangered fish populations


Staff at the Adirondack Fish Hatchery collect round whitefish eggs in December 2020 (photo: DEC)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Annual fish egg collections have been conducted in New York State, hoping to bolster endangered species populations.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed that the annual round whitefish, otherwise known as “frostfish,” egg collection has been conducted on Little Green Pond. These collections were completed by staff members from the Adirondack Fish Hatchery in Saranac Lake, New York.

The Department noted that the most recent round of “frostfish” egg collection was the most successful to date. Staff members collected 186 whitefish and a total of 150 thousand eggs. This compared to an average of 51 thousand eggs.

According to the DEC, the round whitefish get their nickname “frostfish” because of their late spawn date; often under the ice. However, these fish are considered endangered in New York State due to predation, competition, overfishing, loss of spawning site, siltation and lake acidification.

To complete the egg collections, staff members use deicers to keep the trap nets free of ice when the nets are tended. Once removed, the fish are transported to the Adirondack Fish Hatchery and keep in raceways until they are ready to release eggs.

The DEC stated that once eggs are collected, fish are processed by Region 5 Fisheries staff and stocked back into Little Green Pond.

The Round Whitefish are protected under the Endangered Species Law from harvest or possession.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed that they plan to conduct research and establish secure, self-sustaining populations of the fish in five Adirondack lakes.

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