Every year, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, raises millions of fish to be stocked in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The hatchery raises several species of fish, but their pride and joy is the chinook salmon. Each fall, employees harvest millions of eggs, fertilize them, incubate them, and raise the fish until they’re ready to be released into the wild. This time of year, Les Resseguie and his team are overseeing millions of chinook eggs — each about the size of a pea — incubating in big trays in the hatchery’s basement. “You can start to see their eyes, you can start to see the major blood vessels, and you’ll actually see them wiggling around a little bit in there,” Resseguie says.
The number of young bass that survive to become adults has plummeted in about 100 miles of the Lower Susquehanna, as well as parts of the Juniata, over the last decade. (Karl Blankenship)
By Karl Blankenship
Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and Executive Director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991.
According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, a recent study indicates the smallmouth bass population in the Susquehanna River are suffering a population collapse possibly connected to hormone-altering compounds and herbicides, weakening their immune systems.
The multi-year study, which involved dozens of scientists from multiple state and federal agencies as well as universities, said that exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds and herbicides, along with infections from parasites and pathogens, were the “most likely” reasons that few young smallmouth bass in the river have survived to become adults since 2005. Several studies have found evidence of endocrine disrupters, which interfere with the hormone system in animals and fish, around the Bay watershed.