Whirling disease found in Bow River in Banff National Park.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fishing Forum' started by OldBlackDog, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. OldBlackDog

    OldBlackDog Well-Known Member

    Whirling disease found in the Bow River in Banff National Park
    Rainbow trout. / Calgary Herald
    Graphic shows how whirling disease infects fish.Darren Francey / Calgary Herald
    More cases of whirling disease have been found in Banff National Park — this time in the Bow River, elevating concerns for southern Alberta’s fish populations.

    On Monday, officials announced that the contagious disease was confirmed Sept. 7 in fish taken from the Bow River.

    “For some samples taken at about four or five sites downstream of Bow Falls, between there and the east park boundary, we have positive results for whirling disease,” Bill Hunt, manager of resource conservation with Banff National Park, said in an interview Monday. “It indicates it’s in the Bow River.

    “There were fish sampled from a number of locations.”

    The latest results were announced earlier Monday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which monitors diseases that are important to aquatic health or the Canadian economy.

    “Additional detections of whirling disease from the ongoing sampling and testing do not mean the disease is spreading,” said the update, which noted it could have been present in the area for a number of years.

    The first Canadian case of whirling disease — named after the circular swimming patterns of infected fish — was confirmed in Johnson Lake in Banff National Park in August after a Parks Canada employee saw a fish exhibiting symptoms earlier this year.

    Johnson Lake remains closed, and restrictions were also put in place Friday for other streams, rivers and lakes in Banff National Park.

    “Those were precautionary measures,” said Hunt, “to protect critical habitat under the westslope cutthroat trout habitat recovery plan.”

    Whirling disease can be spread by people or birds, and affects six species of cold-water fish found in Alberta: cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, mountain whitefish, brown trout, bull trout and brook trout.

    Both cutthroat trout and bull trout are listed as species at risk.

    The discovery of whirling disease in several species of fish in Banff has prompted the provincial and federal governments to test 700 samples in waterways downstream of Banff National Park.

    Its confirmation in the upper Bow River could have major implications for Alberta’s fisheries — particularly because the Bow is known as one of the world’s top trout rivers.

    “It’s definitely concerning,” said Lesley Peterson, provincial biologist with Trout Unlimited. “We’re especially concerned about our native fish stocks such as westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout.

    “It can also have an effect on the sport fishery, which plays a pretty big role in the economy of those communities around these areas.”

    Peterson said an outbreak of whirling disease in Montana in the 1990s was devastating.

    “It really knocked back the rainbow trout population,” she said. “It took a long time for that fishery to recover and it had a pretty lasting effect. I don’t know if it’s going to get that bad here. Let’s hope not.”

    The province said it’s taking “swift action” to protect Alberta’s fish populations.

    “Obviously this is not the finding we were looking for,” said Roger Ramcharita, regional director for the southern part of the province with Alberta Environment and Parks. “If it were found outside of Johnson Lake, which it is, it can be very serious or could be not very serious.

    “Based on how whirling diseases affected trout populations in the U.S., it ranged from virtually no impact to very serious impact.”

    Ramcharita said they are taking it very seriously and have developed an action plan with the CFIA and Parks Canada that includes:

    Once the disease is found in a waterbody, the research suggests it is impossible to eliminate and difficult to contain.

    Whirling disease does not affect people or animals other than trout and salmon.


  2. Cuba Libre

    Cuba Libre Well-Known Member

    Zebra mussels next in BC lakes... :(
  3. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Ottawa, March 9, 2018 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of whirling disease (infection with Myxobolus cerebralis) in the North Saskatchewan River watershed in Alberta.

    The following watersheds in Alberta have been declared infected:

    • Bow River
    • Oldman River
    • North Saskatchewan River
    • Red Deer River
    The rest of Alberta is declared as a buffer area for this disease until surveillance by the CFIA and the Government of Alberta determines that the buffer area or parts of the buffer area are free or infected with whirling disease.
  4. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

  5. FishDoc

    FishDoc Active Member

    The thing is, it has likely been there for years. It didn't just all of a sudden show up in all these different river systems across the province. They just tested this last year and results came back unfortunately infected. So it's on the spread. Not looking forward to seeing it come across the line.

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