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Jamestown Fish Kill May Not Be A Bad Thing - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Jamestown Fish Kill May Not Be A Bad Thing

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JULY 16 UPDATE

We have an update to a story we brought you earlier this spring. Lab tests now show what killed thousands of carp at the Jamestown reservoir.  It was apparently the combination of winter stress and parasites.

However, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. This Spring the shoreline of the Jamestown Reservoir was littered with tens of thousands of dead carp.

Today, the problem has run its course and most of the smelly mess has been cleaned up by people and Mother Nature. Experts say our long winter and parasites are to blame.

Gene Van Eeckhout, ND Game & Fish: "Mostly just the winter stress. As you know the ice didn't go off until quite late this Spring and it's a combination of things. Heavy infestation of gilled parasites.

Reporter: "How's fishing?"

Fisherman: "Good, check it out. Look at that nice crappie."

Ironically, the loss of all those carp could be a good thing, especially for fisherman. It all means more room and more food for other popular fish like walleye.

Gen Van Eeckhout: "Any fish kill is not a good thing I guess. But, reducing the carp population will actually free up some space and energy and food resources for the other fish in the reservoir."

However, Eeckhout warns the remaining carp that survived our long winter and the parasites could be a sort of super carp that could cause a different kind of problem down the road.

Eeckhout says since the surviving carp are stronger, there is the possibility that they could come back in numbers larger than ever.

JUNE 5, 2013

Anglers and those who live along the Jamestown Reservoir are seriously concerned by what they are seeing wash up along the shore.

Hundreds of dead carp are appearing, and North Dakota Game and Fish biologists are stumped as to why.

Living on the east side of the reservoir, Jim Schmitt has seen his fair share of fish, but what he sees now is strange to him. "The darndest thing. They were so high on the water, and it looked like they were gasping for air," says Schmitt.

He has also been seeing dead ones floating near shore.

His concerns are the concerns of many who have been vocal to the Game and Fish Department. Fisheries Biologist BJ Kratz says he first started noticing signs of the fish kill as the ice came off, but then he started getting reports that the carp seemed sluggish.

"It's not typical for carp because carp are usually pretty active this time of year and are also easy to spook and reactive when people approach them," says Kratz.

The carcasses also continue to pile up.

Kratz says, "At this point it looks, it's definitely in the hundreds, if not thousands."

Kratz says there is extra stress on the carp this time of year as they breed, making them more susceptible to disease. It is pertinent for biologists to figure out what disease.

"Anytime something like this happens our concern is with our game fish that we manage, and for, to make sure none of those would be affected."

A team came from Bismarck to take samples to send them to the Fish Health Center in Bozeman, Montana. Kratz says they could be looking at an Asian or European virus. He says, "It is rather uncommon to this region, and it hasn't been documented in North Dakota."

But that is all speculation. For now, the only thing that can be done is wait for the results. The results of the testing should be available by late next week.

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