Trout shortages expected as state prepares to kill 350,000 fish
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will euthanize about 350,000 rainbow trout following outbreaks of lactococcus petauri at two Eastern Sierra hatcheries. Experts warn the euthanizations will affect recreational fishing stock, especially in Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which get stock from the affected facilities.
Lactococcus petauri is a naturally occurring bacteria that causes a disease called lactococcosis in both saltwater and freshwater fish. The illness has been described as “a major re-emerging bacterial disease seriously affecting the sustainability of aquaculture industry.” Symptoms include protruding eyes, bleeding, lesions and swollen abdomens. The 350,000 fish that will be euthanized are showing signs of disease.
To mitigate disruptions, Fish and Wildlife officials are seeking out other vendors to ship trout stock in. Healthy fish will also receive vaccines developed by UC Davis.
“This loss is a huge disappointment, but we were prepared for this possibility and are doing all we can to ensure to continued angling opportunity for the public,” Russell Black, a fisheries supervisor with the Fish and Wildlife, said in a statement. “The fish from the private contractor and stocks from non-infected hatchery facilities will help bridge the gap while we work to vaccinate the remaining stocks at the affected facilities.”