Categorized | News

CFIA confirms whirling disease in Bow River

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed Monday the presence of whirling disease in the upper Bow River, downstream from the confluence of the Bow River and Cascade River within Banff National Park.
In response to the detection of whirling disease in Johnson Lake, in Banff National Park on Aug. 23, Alberta Environment and Parks developed a three-point action plan to provide emergency response and early detection, education and mitigation.
“We are taking swift action to protect our fish populations,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said. “Our plan ensures continued testing, a strong public education campaign, long-term monitoring and a precautionary quarantine on commercial fish operations to manage whirling disease.”
Whirling disease impacts vary between fish species and different water bodies.
Rainbow, west slope cutthroat and brook trout, some salmon and mountain whitefish are most susceptible to the disease.
Affected fish may exhibit any of the following signs: whirling swimming pattern; skeletal deformities of the body or head such as shortening of the mandible and indentations on the top of the head; and the tail may appear dark or even black.
As part of the plan, the province issued a precautionary quarantine on all commercial fish culture operations until the facility is cleared of whirling disease.
Sample results from the Sam Livingstone Provincial Fish Hatchery in Calgary and the Cold Lake Provincial Hatcheries have tested negative.
Detection sampling has been completed in the main stem of the Bow River.
Work is under way to collect samples from basins immediately adjacent to the Bow River, Oldman River and upper Red Deer River watersheds.
Environment and Parks will establish a whirling disease management committee, with representatives from various federal agencies and stakeholders to implement procedures to identify, test and manage whirling disease as well as communicate with affected stakeholders.
The province has asked that whirling disease be added to the agenda at the upcoming Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment at the end of September due to its potential economic and recreational impact.
To help prevent the spread of whirling disease, Alberta is quarantining all commercial fish culture operations through ministerial order until each facility has tested negative for whirling disease.
Alberta is also ceasing provincial fish stocking until each of the five facilities has tested negative for the disease.
Anglers, boaters and recreational water users can help reduce the risk of spreading whirling disease.
In order of potential risk, from highest to lowest, the movement of fish, mud or sediment, and water can spread whirling disease. It can be transmitted through equipment used for swimming, paddling, boating, water pumping and fishing, or through infected fish and fish parts. Never move live fish from one body of water to another.
Use fish-cleaning stations where available or put fish parts in the local solid waste system. Never move dead fish or parts between water bodies or dispose of them in a kitchen garburator.
Some basic routine precautions everyone should take:
• Before leaving any water body, examine all equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots and buckets and remove all mud, sand and plant material.
• Eliminate water from all equipment before transporting.
• Ensure that you remove all water from every item before you leave the area. This includes boats, motors, boat hulls, boots, waders, bait buckets and swimming floats. Once water is eliminated, cleaning and drying are required.
Before your next outing or move to new waters:
• Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water. This may not eliminate the spore life-stage of whirling disease, but it can reduce the likelihood of transferring it to another water body.
• Use hot water (at least 90 Celsius) to clean your equipment and let dry. If hot water is not available, spray equipment with high-pressure water. Do not use a car wash or dispose of water in a storm drain. Clean equipment away from any water sources.
• It is important to dry equipment thoroughly. After equipment is thought to be dry, allow for a minimum of 24 hours of drying time before entering new waters.
• Wash dogs with warm water and brush them thoroughly.
If you suspect a case of whirling disease, call 1-855-336-2628.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe Online

Other Stories in this Category


Poll

Are you optimistic the viability review will support Granum remaining as a town?