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State kills 20,000 more trout to stem whirling disease

US - The state Department of Natural Resources destroyed 20,000 hatchery trout Thursday, bringing to at least 156,000 the number of fish the agency has destroyed this year in hopes of curbing the spread of whirling disease, an illness fatal to trout.

The brown and rainbow trout killed Thursday were from net pens below Jennings Randolph Dam in the North Branch of the Potomac River, Assistant Secretary Michael Slattery said. The DNR has known since 1995 that the Jennings Randolph Culture Station harbored the parasite that causes whirling disease, but decided in March to close the operation after the disease was found at two trout-rearing stations in Garrett County.

The rearing station at the Mettiki coal mine near Table Rock has been closed. The state-owned Bear Creek Rearing Station near Accident has been emptied of fish. Last month, the whirling disease parasite also was found in Bear Creek, which supplies water to the Bear Creek station.

Slattery said the trout destroyed Thursday were taken to a rendering plant in Winchester, Va., and converted to chicken feed. The rendering process kills the whirling disease parasite, he said.

Source: DelmervaNow!com

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