Project NumberHWS-C-0002
Funding Start Date2023-04-01
Funding End Date2024-03-31
Award Amount$38,000.00

Project Description

The Finger Lakes in central New York support a vibrant fishing industry. The National Lake Trout Derby on Seneca Lake, now in its 58th year, is one of the longest standing fishing derbies in the nation. The economic return on the Lake Trout Derby is important for local communities and attracts out-of-state residents (e.g., especially from New Jersey in 2022) to participate in the event. In 2022, there were 614 registered participants (Bob Stivers, President, Seneca Lake Sports-O-Rama, pers. comm.). Sportfish considered in the derby include Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), Brown Trout (Salmo trutta), Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar).

In addition, anglers on the lake consume the fish they catch. Thus, research on the diets and health of sportfish of Seneca Lake is important from both an economic and human health perspective. We sampled fish directly from anglers at the 2022 Lake Trout Derby through a collaborative project among researchers and citizens at SUNY ESF, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and a lake association, the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association. We assessed Lake Trout and other major sportfish diets and contaminant exposures to better describe fish health in Seneca Lake.

The benefits of fish consumption will be quantified through omega-3 fatty acid analyses. To characterize fish diets, stomach content analyses and stable isotope analyses of dorsal muscle were completed. To characterize exposure to contaminants, legacy (i.e., mercury) and contaminants of emerging concern (i.e., per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, PFAS) were measured in fish muscle tissues.

Principal Investigators

Roxanne Razavi, SUNY ESF

External Partner

Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association


Levanduski E*, Cushman SF, Cleckner LB, Richter W, Becker JC, and Razavi NR. Searching for the source: uptake of PFAS into New York’s Seneca Lake Sportfish. SETAC North America 44th Annual Meeting. Louisville, KY, November 12-16th, 2023. Graduate student poster presentation.

Roxanne Razavi, Susan Cushman, Lisa Cleckner presented a webinar to Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association on April 26th, 2023.