© 2024 Interlochen
CLASSICAL IPR | 88.7 FM Interlochen | 94.7 FM Traverse City | 88.5 FM Mackinaw City IPR NEWS | 91.5 FM Traverse City | 90.1 FM Harbor Springs/Petoskey | 89.7 FM Manistee/Ludington
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State euthanizes 31k salmon after outbreak at Wexford Co. hatchery

Atlantic salmon
Wikimedia Commons
Atlantic salmon

The state euthanized more than 31,000 Atlantic salmon after a bacterial infection spread through a hatchery in Wexford County.

Cases of bacterial kidney disease sometimes crop up in hatcheries, but the state says it's rare for infections to take hold to this scale.

"Normally you can treat it out with antibiotics, but in this particular instance, the fish were very clearly diseased," said Ed Eisch, a program manager with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Eisch said while the loss at the Harietta hatchery is unfortunate, it will not be a major setback to Atlantic salmon stocking efforts. He said it represents a fraction of more than 20-30 million fish stocked annually.

More than 80,000 Atlantic salmon were stocked across Torch Lake, the Au Sable River in Oscoda, Thunder Bay in Alpena and Lexington Harbor. Another 27,000 will soon be stocked in the St. Mary's River.

"The impact to the program will not be hugely felt by the anglers at this point," Eisch said. "... All the sites that were slated to get Atlantic salmon got some."

Eisch said the state doesn't have a dollar estimate for the cost of this loss yet.

"The staff had 16 months invested in those fish," Eisch said. "When you're so close to the finish line, thinking you're going to be stocking these fish, and then they test positive, it's very disheartening to have to euthanize them."

Moving forward, Eisch said the Harietta fishery will be deep-cleaned, and the state is working with Michigan State University to vaccinate salmon against bacterial kidney disease.

Editor's note: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is a sponsor of WCMU. We report on them as we do with any other organization.

Copyright 2024 WCMU

Teresa Homsi