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Trout Production At Two State Rearing Facilities Impacted By Parasite Discovery
Little or no impact to spring fishing success anticipated
ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries officials announced today that trout production at two state rearing facilities will be reduced by approximately 20 percent this year, due to the discovery of the parasite known to cause whirling disease at the previously uninfected facilities in Garrett County. In order to reduce the possibility of the parasites’ spread, all infected fish at the facilities will be destroyed and the facilities will be sanitized to eradicate the parasite.
Given the loss of production at these sites, Maryland will be ramping up production at other hatcheries and rearing stations, and augmenting stock with the purchase of certified disease-free fish. Therefore, while stocking rates will be reduced for the 2007 spring season, the angling public should see little or no difference in fishing success in Maryland streams.
The whirling disease parasite was introduced into the eastern United States from Europe in the late 1950s and is currently known to exist in 24 states. It was first discovered in Maryland in 1995 in the North Branch Potomac River. Although harmless to humans, the parasite can be fatal to trout and is particularly harmful to rainbow trout. Once infected, the parasite attacks the fish’s skeletal tissue, resulting in severe internal damage and causing it to exhibit the erratic “whirling” swimming behavior for which the disease is named.
To reduce the likelihood of spreading the spores of the organism, DNR is asking anglers not to move caught fish from one stream to another, not to discard carcasses in the stream or on the stream banks, and to remove mud from boots and equipment before moving from one stream to another.
Spring stocking updates and further information on whirling disease and ways to prevent its spread can be found at www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/.
February 15, 2007
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov