50,000 Carp Die-Off In
South Carolina In One Week

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello Jeff - It seems that every die-off contains the same statements i.e.
1. the die-off cause is suggested to be common bacteria combined with cooler weather earlier this spring.
2. there's no threat to humans and other fish caught in the lake are safe to eat.
It almost seems like a carbon copy statement used for each major die off.
Patricia Doyle
From: ProMED-mail Source: The [edited]
Fishermen Worry Disease May Spread
Some fishermen wonder whether whatever is killing off the common carp in Lake Moultrie could spread to the lake's popular bass and catfish.
There have been about 50 000 dead carp found during the past weeks along the lake and the Santee River below the Rediversion Canal. State Natural Resources Department biologist Scott Lamprecht says that could be about half the carp population of the Santee Cooper lakes system.
"I've never seen anything of this magnitude," Lamprecht said. "It is by far the biggest single-species disease kill I've ever seen."
Officials don't yet know the cause. Biologists suspect common bacteria combined with cooler weather earlier this spring.
Lamprecht says there's no threat to humans and other fish caught in the lake are safe to eat.
"It's not a water quality issue that we are aware of," Santee Cooper spokesman Willard Strong said.
Lamprecht advised people not to swim near floating fish carcasses.
The carp is not a favorite with fishermen and wildlife leaders. A statement about the fish kill from the Natural Resources Department on Tuesday said that the "removal of carp from our state waters can actually be viewed as a positive thing, since they compete directly with popular game fish in the organisms they eat and [by the] physical destruction of gamefish nests."
The agency said other states have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in carp removal programs.
Some fishermen wonder if another species is next. "If it's the carp now, which is a pretty tough old fish, is it going to go from there to the catfish, to the bass?" said Ron Neal, one of the lakes' few carp fishermen.
Lamprecht says no other fish species have been stricken by the disease since the carp began dying about 3 weeks ago.
"The conditions apparently were just right for this to jump on this particular species. I don't want to jump up and down, but it's probably a good thing for the system," he said.
Biologists think the fish kill is from one of two bacteria, _Columnaris_ or _Aeromonas_. Preliminary tests have pointed to _Columnaris_. The state wildlife agency expects to have test results for bacteria within a few days.
The scene on the lakes is a strange one. "You just see white specks sitting out there. You pull up beside them, and it's carp lying dead," Neal said.
"They're floating wherever the wind blows them," said Kevin Davis of Black's Fish Camp, who counted more than 100 during a circuit of Lake Moultrie this week.
Lamprecht said vultures, turtles, and alligators will eventually clean up the mess. Don't mourn for the carp, though. Lamprecht says the hearty fish will survive and thrive again.
"In three years," he says, "we'll probably be back at the same population." -- ProMED-mail
Until the test results are back, it is tough to know what is killing the carp. However, other areas of the world have had varieties of carp die from herpesvirus. If it is a carp herpesvirus, that could explain why other fish have not [yet] been affected.
Although this article does not give many details as to the appearance of the fish, this could be an outbreak of Spring viremia of carp. - Mod.TG
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health



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