Why are dead fish washing up on Detroit Lakes beach?

Dead fish washing up along Detroit Lakes beach
Dead fish washing up along Detroit Lakes beach(KVLY)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:20 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - If you’ve taken a stroll along the shoreline of Detroit Lakes beach you may have noticed dead fishing washing up on the beach. While it might smell and look concerning, local experts say it’s a normal occurrence.

Fish die-offs tend to happen in the spring time and the harsh winter may have played a factor. Nathan Olson, a fisheries supervisor for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said the dead fish along the shore of Detroit Lakes is a result of the bacteria Columnaris. Olson said the bacterium is always present in fish populations, and typically associated with stress.

A tough winter, along with water temperatures rapidly increasing combined with the stress of fish spawning can become a recipe for a Columnaris outbreak within a fish population.

“Sometimes, thousands of fish are observed dead or weakly swimming along shores that are windswept,” explained Olson.

Bluegill, Black Crappie, and bullheads are the most common fish to washup dead as a result of Columnaris, though it can attack practically all freshwater fish. While there is no known treatment to prevent the outbreak, Olson said there is no health concern as long as people don’t eat the dead fish that are washed up on beach.

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