Originally posted by: erabbit456 on 7/12/2006 3:53:50 AM
Different Species Of Fish Dying By The Thousands
Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 4:40pm
State officials are investigating why at least ten different species of fish are dying off by the thousands in eastern Lake Ontario.
Species like carp, bullhead, rock bass, smallmouth bass and sturgeon have washed onto the southern shore of Point Peninsula.
"It looks like a war zone here. I don't know why so many fish are dying. It just makes me sick," said local resident Bob Locy.
The fish kill is especially troublesome because so many different species are dying.
Things have been made even worse by the corpses of birds that have died after feeding on the decaying fish.
Bill Mandigo has lived on Point Peninsula for half a century.
"We've never seen the dead cormorants, the dead seagulls, the dead bass and the dead sturgeon. We've never seen a sturgeon here before in all the 50 years," said Mandigo.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Stephen Litwhiler said his agency doesn't yet know what's causing the die-off.
Specimen samples have been sent to Cornell University in Ithaca for testing.
Litwhiler suspects the fish are dying from viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a virus which is new to the Great Lakes region.
The virus is believed to have caused the deaths of thousands of round gobies and muskellunge in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in May.
He warns the public against touching the dead fish, although the virus itself poses no health threat to humans or animals.
"Leave them alone. There are other diseases that can reside in these dead fish that can be a problem for animals and humans," said Litwhiler.
He said botulism probably killed the birds that fed on the decaying fish.
Litwhiler said people shouldn't worry about going swimming or catching or eating live fish.