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David Sparks, Ph.D. 9-11 SS Whitefish Parasite
by David Sparks, Ph.D., click here for bio

Program: Sportsman's Spotlight
Date: September 11, 2012

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 The heat is finally felt in a very strange way.

 Several weeks ago I talked to some people at Oregon Fish and Game about a natural occurrence throughout much of the rest of the country where fish were dying in mass because of the heat wave.  At that time, they said that fish in the Northwest were not feeling much of an impact. Well that may have changed. Recent sightings of dead mountain whitefish have been reported from across the Upper Snake Region, including the Henrys Fork, South Fork Snake River, Teton River and main Snake River as far south as Firth.  Exactly why these fish are dying has been a mystery until now.  Preliminary results obtained by IDFG’s Fish Health Laboratory show that the parasite called PKD or Proliferative Kidney Disease may be behind the deaths.  This rare parasite has not been documented in Idaho’s wild fish before, although it has been reported in both wild and hatchery trout and salmon in North America and in Europe.  Here is IDFG’s Greg Losinski with the tie-in to heat:  “We did find a parasite that I won’t even attempt to pronounce that is also called PKD or Proliferative Kidney Disease. One thing we do feel that caused this outbreak was the recent rash of high temperatures and increased water temperatures so hopefully with things cooling down we won’t be seeing any more of this but we will definitely be watching it.

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