Fish go to School
Madison County Trout Unlimited’s Chapter 680 held a recent meeting at Canastota High School. The location was chosen because of the work of science teacher Paula Burnor, advisor for the school’s Trout in the Classroom project.
It is their second year in the program, following up last year’s program, which was very successful.
Burnor presented a short slideshow of the group visiting Morrisville State College’s aquaculture program and obtaining the eggs of the fish for the program.
The students “stripped” the female fish of their eggs and stripped the male of their milt, combining them in a container and stirring them with a turkey feather to “fertilize” the eggs. Later they were given the eggs to be brought back to their “chiller” that was set up in the classroom.
In time, the eggs hatched into the first stages of the fish. Some did not survive, but many did.
She told us about some problems they encountered and what the students’ responsibilities had been in caring for the fish, such as monitoring the feeding schedules, pH levels and cleaning of the chiller, etc.
A couple of students were present to tell their part in the process; one student expressed a possibility of making this a career. A question-and-answer period followed the discussion.
This year’s eggs were brook trout. Last year’s eggs were brown trout. This batch’s growth was about one- to one-and-a-quarter inches in length. Burnor said the current fish were as long now as when they released them in the creek last May.
Burnor talked about a situation where the fish were not growing. She contacted a person who had done the TIC program before and was told the fish were starving and that the fry would have large bellies when they were fed the correct amount of food.
The program was well-presented and hopefully will eventually provide a few brookies to catch and release.