Fish Die-Off in Virginia – 06/10/2009

  • December 31, 2013 at 3:52 am #1849

    Fish Die-Off in Virginia

    (Devastated Immune Systems? –MC)

    Dead fish found again
    By Gene Mueller (Contact) | Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Sightings of dead fish again are being reported by citizens as well as biologists of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Department of Environmental Quality. The number of rivers the reports have come from is small, but “significant numbers of fish with lesions” have been noted, according to the game and fisheries agency.

    The discovery of dead or suffering fish mirrors those of past years, but scientists recently found a link between aeromonas salmonicida – a bacterium found in diseased river fish – and lesions and/or deaths of experimentally infected laboratory fish.

    The source of the bacterium and how it is transmitted are keeping the state biologists busy. This has been an ongoing riddle, and no one has been able to pinpoint the source of the problem. Most of the affected fish thus far have been smallmouth bass and sunfish, and with warming water temperatures the fish kills are not likely to disappear.

    The North Fork of the Shenandoah River in Shenandoah County (from the New Market area downstream to beyond Woodstock) again is one of the troubled waterways; so is the upper portion of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in Rockingham County (primarily upstream of Elkton). Add also the lower sections of the North, Middle and South rivers in Augusta and Rockingham counties and the upper James River near Buchanan in Botetourt County.

    The public is asked to report the location of sick and dying fish by calling the DEQ’s Harrisonburg office at 540/574-7800 or by making a toll-free call if you’re in Virginia at 800/5925482. Reports can also be made by e-mail; send them to

    • Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report Thursday, only in The Washington Times.

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