Virus Cause of Massive Fish Kill In Minnesota

fish kill

Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC), a notifiable disease to the World Organization for Animal Health, is the confirmed cause of a fish kill that occurred during June in Minnehaha Creek.

The kill, which involved 200-300 carp, occurred June 15 along a stretch of Minnehaha Creek within Minnehaha Regional Park.

SVC is a serious fish disease that primarily affects carp; however, it also can affect other species including bluegill and largemouth bass. The virus has been found in the United States on eight other occasions, including an isolation from the Mississippi River?s Pool 8 near Dresbach in 2007.

?The discovery of this virus reinforces the importance of new laws designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and fish diseases by prohibiting the transfer of water between water bodies,? said Paula Phelps, aquaculture and fish health consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). ?Spring Viremia of Carp can be spread through waters, so it is very important not to move live fish or water between water bodies.?

She added that all unused bait should be disposed of in a trash can, not in the water or on the ground.

DNR fisheries staff collected samples on June 16 for diagnostic testing at the DNR?s pathology lab. The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and subsequently the National Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the SVC diagnosis.

Since June 15, no additional fish kills have been reported to the DNR. Future monitoring is planned to determine the possible geographic range of SVC within Minnesota. Testing will occur when water temperatures, which are too warm now, are optimal for isolating any virus present.

Those who discover a fish kill should call the state duty officer at 800-422-0798 and provide the name of the lake, river or stream; the date of discovery; the fish species affected; and the approximate number of dead or dying fish. The public should not collect samples from a fish kill.

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