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Whirling disease takes huge toll on fish business, census shows

by the Fish Site Editor
18 October 2006, at 1:00am

US - Sales in Utah of trout and trout products have taken a tremendous hit because of the spread of whirling disease, dropping from $1.9 million in 1998 to $560,000 last year, according to an aquaculture census reported released Tuesday. These are the first hard numbers on how much the industry has declined, as private hatchery owners continue to lobby lawmakers to force the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to conduct more than a single test for the disease before closing down aquaculture operations. The census shows that there were only 11 aquaculture operations in the state reporting sales during 2005 - down from 18 hatcheries in 1998. Food-sized trout accounted for $463,000 in sales during 2005 - accounting for 83 percent of all aquaculture sales in Utah. Private hatcheries, long known for also supplying fish for private ponds, are no longer a factor in the aquaculture industry, according to the aquaculture census. <i>Source: The Salt Lake Tribune</i>

the Fish Site Editor