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Maryland destroys trout to curb fish disease

HAGERSTOWN - The number of trout destroyed by the Department of Natural Resources to curb the spread of whirling disease has risen to 136,300, the state's director of freshwater fisheries said Friday.

H. Robert Lunsford also said the state will stop rearing trout in water from the infected North Branch of the Potomac River pending discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about prospects for disinfecting water flowing from the corps-controlled Jennings Randolph dam into a series of net pens.

About 17,000 trout currently in those net pens have tested negative for the fatal fish disease, Lunsford said. The fish will be tested a second time and then either be stocked in the river for sport fishing if they're clean or destroyed if they're infected, Lunsford said.

The DNR previously said it ordered 80,000 brown and rainbow trout destroyed after finding the parasite in January in the Mettiki and Bear Creek rearing stations in Garrett County. The agency has purchased replacements for about 60,000 of those fish, Lunsford said Friday.

He said officials don't know how the Mettiki station was infected, but that workers unwittingly brought the disease to Bear Creek by transferring fish there from Mettiki on his orders.

Whirling disease is an infection caused by a microscopic parasite that causes trout to swim in circles until they die. Rainbow and cutthroat trout appear to be more susceptible than other trout species, according to the Whirling Disease Foundation.

Source: Delawareonline

the Fish Site Editor

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