350,000 rainbow trout euthanized in California

Two California fish hatcheries have confirmed outbreaks of a deadly bacterial disease, prompting California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials to report that 350,000 infected rainbow trout have died.

The fish hatchery, Black Rock and Fish Springs, is located on the front range of the Eastern Sierra. The facilities provide stocked fish to fishermen in California’s inland desert, including five counties in California.

“This loss is very disappointing, but we have been prepared for the possibility and are doing everything we can to ensure that the fishing opportunity continues for the public,” said Russell Black, CDFW Fisheries Superintendent.

To reduce the impact of the outbreak on the summer fishing season, CDFW is trying to partner with outside vendors to stock trout from other areas of the state. Fishery managers are prioritizing efforts to stockpile some of the affected counties, such as Mono County, which includes Mammoth Lakes, California, a major fishing destination. The agency hopes to find a storage partner by the end of July.

“Fish from the private contractor and stocks from uninfected spawning facilities will help fill the gap while we work to graft the remaining stocks at the affected facilities,” Black says. “We are doing our best to stock as many fish as possible.”

In 2020, the same hatchery, along with the Mojave River hatchery, encountered a different strain of Lactobacillus, prompting officials to euthanize 3.2 million fish. Although the strains are similar, CDFW first detected the version of the bacteria that causes this year’s outbreak in April.

Symptoms of the bacterial disease include exophthalmos, intermittent swimming, swimming, and death. Infected fish can also be asymptomatic, but symptoms are more prevalent when water in facilities reaches high temperatures or residents become crowded and stressed. The disease is not known to be transmitted to humans.

“The unusual thing about this outbreak is that this pathogen is new to California,” Kenneth Kondarjee, director of the CDFW’s Environmental Program, told LA Magazine. “The bacteria are known to be present in the United States but so far they have only been identified in a few aquaculture facilities.”

Lactococcus pyori It is a naturally occurring bacterial disease that is known to spread through the movement of fish and eggs. Officials believe the current strain affecting the two traps was transmitted by birds using the Pacific route, coming from central Mexico, where the disease is most common.

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