Fish kills reported, virus could be to blame - WNEM TV 5

Fish kills reported, virus could be to blame

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The Michigan DNR is investigating recent reports of dead fish on Lake St. Clair. Citizens should report anything they might find, such as the dead gizzard shad shown here The Michigan DNR is investigating recent reports of dead fish on Lake St. Clair. Citizens should report anything they might find, such as the dead gizzard shad shown here
MICHIGAN, (WNEM) -

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is investigating after several fish kills, particularly gizzard shard, have been reported.

The fish mortalities reports have mostly been around Lake St. Clair and samples that were collected have shown some of the fish may have been affected by viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv).

VHSv is a highly contagious pathogen that is identifiable by bloody patches on the skin caused by leaking blood vessels.

“VHSv has been detected in these waters since at least 2003, and when conditions are right the pathogen will cause disease events like this one,” said Gary Whelan, research program manager for the DNR’s Fisheries Division.

DNR officials are still waiting on confirmation but say that VHSv first caused fish mortalities in the St. Clair-Detroit River corridor for more than a decade and have been found occasionally since that time.

Fish infected with the virus have been found in lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario, along with a few inland lakes.

Some 30 species have known to be infected, and while fish like lake sturgeon and walleye are very resistant to it, others such as bluegill, largemouth bass, muskellunge, gizzard shad and round goby are very susceptible to the virus.

Previous research has shown that many fish recover from this virus infection, although there is no treatment.

“The public is encouraged to continue to provide us with reports of fish kills with a focus on kills of more than 25 fish,” Whelan said.

Report the fish kills to DNR-FISH-Report-Fish-Kills@michigan.gov.

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