Concern over alewives
Another topic discussed by the county board last week included the concern that a steady diet of alewives will eventually cause lake trout and salmon to become sterile and reduce numbers in Lake Champlain.
The concern stems from the fact that alewives are high in a chemical known as thiaminase, which, when ingested by fish in large quantities, causes a decrease in vitamin B1 - an essential dietary vitamin in lakers and salmon.
Being low in B1 can cause a number of negative side effects, from stunted growth to impaired vision to reproductive failure and mortality in fry and adult fish.
Essex Supervisor Ron Jackson asked LaMere if he had the capability of raising lake trout and salmon to supplement the stocking program in Lake Champlain, especially since Vermont is considering closing some - or all - of its state hatcheries.
LaMere said he most likely would, with renovations to the water pipes that feed the 80-year-old facility, but said the impact the hatchery might have on the 120-mile lake leaves to be seen.
"I think it's a goal worth pursuing," Jackson said.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org