Round ‘Slowby’ No More?: contributed by Scott George
Posted 9-25-18: The invasion of Round Goby eastward through the Barge Canal towards the Hudson River has been slower than anticipated. An angler captured a specimen in 2014 near Utica but no specimens have been reported east of Sylvan Beach (east end of Oneida Lake) since that time. However, environmental DNA (eDNA) samples collected by the USGS have consistently indicated the presence of round goby DNA near Utica. Periodic trawling, seining, and trapping efforts at this location have failed to capture goby, however. On Friday 9/21, Scott George and staff from the NYS Museum Ichthyology lab back-pack electrofished sections of the Barge Canal and natural Mohawk channel in the Utica area to learn more about the distribution of Round Goby. Goby were captured at two locations that have been reported to the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database: https://nas.er.usgs.gov/viewer/omap.aspx?SpeciesID=713.
Goby dominated the catch at lock 20 on the Barge Canal (just west of Utica) with many young-of-the-year and adults present. A single goby was also captured on the natural Mohawk River channel immediately adjacent to lock 20 near Rt 291. The natural river channel supports a robust darter community likely to be adversely affected by goby invasion.
These captures suggest that round goby are slowly expanding their distribution and abundance in the Mohawk River Basin and additional expansion should be expected in the near future.