September 30, 2013 at 10:32 pm #506MikeKeymaster
More on the story of the dead carp.
Posted on Wed, May. 26, 2004
Fishermen worry disease may spread
PINEVILLE, S.C. – Some fishermen wonder if whatever is killing off
the common carp in Lake Moultrie could spread to the lake’s popular
bass and catfish.
There have been about 50,000 dead carp found during the past weeks
along the lake and the Santee River below the Rediversion Canal.
State Natural Resources Department biologist Scott Lamprecht says
that could be about half the carp population of the Santee Cooper
“I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude,” Lamprecht said. “It is
by far the biggest single species disease kill I’ve ever seen.”
Officials don’t yet know the cause. Biologists suspect a common
bacteria combined with cooler weather earlier this spring.
Lamprecht says there’s no threat to humans and other fish caught in
the lake are safe to eat.
“It’s not a water quality issue that we are aware of,” Santee Cooper
spokesman Willard Strong said.
Lamprecht advised people not to swim near floating fish carcasses.
The carp is not a favorite with fishermen and wildlife leaders. A
statement about the fish kill from the Natural Resources Department
on Tuesday said that the “removal of carp from our state waters can
actually be viewed as a positive thing since they compete directly
with popular game fish in the organisms they eat and physical
destruction of gamefish nests.”
The agency said other states have spent hundreds of thousands of
dollars in carp removal programs.
Some fishermen wonder if another species is next.
“If it’s the carp now, which is a pretty tough old fish, is it going
to go from there to the catfish, to the bass?” said Ron Neal, one of
the lakes’ few carp fishermen.
Lamprecht says no other fish species have been stricken by the
disease since the carp began dying about three weeks ago.
“The conditions apparently were just right for this to jump on this
particular species. I don’t want to jump up and down, but it’s
probably a good thing for the system,” he said.
Biologists think the fish kill is from one of two bacteria,
columnaris or aeromonas. Preliminary tests have pointed to
columnaris. The state wildlife agency expects to have test results
for bacteria within a few days.
The scene on the lakes is a strange one.
“You just see white specks sitting out there. You pull up beside
them, and it’s carp lying dead,” Neal said.
“They’re floating wherever the wind blows them,” said Kevin Davis of
Black’s Fish Camp, who counted more than 100 during a circuit of Lake
Moultrie this week.
Lamprecht said vultures, turtles and alligators will eventually clean
up the mess. Don’t mourn for the carp, though. Lamprecht says the
hearty fish will survive and thrive again.
“In three years,” he says, “we’ll probably be back at the same
Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.charleston.net
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