Photo by Rick WIndham
Dead carp at Sutherland Reservoir, June 18
Tests have been conducted to find out what killed thousands of carp in the Sutherland Reservoir in mid-June.
But after two rounds of tests, no one knows the answer yet, according to fisheries biologist Daryl Bauer of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Bauer said Monday at a meeting near Lake McConaughy that tissue from the dead carp were tested in a laboratory in Washington State. The tests did not find evidence of known koi viruses, but did not turn up a cause.
Bauer said another round of tests will be conducted.
On June 18, hundreds, possibly thousands, of dead fish washed up on the north shores of Sutherland Reservoir, a caller told the Bulletin.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said they were aware of the problem and biologists were in the process of collecting dead fish for analysis. Their initial thoughts were that the cause was not an environmental factor such as heat, lack of dissolved oxygen or a chemical spill.
When the Bulletin’s outdoor writer Rick Windham arrived at the reservoir, he found the die-off was species specific. The vast majority of dead fish were carp. Windham thought that was odd, because carp can usually survive the worst water conditions.
“The fact that I saw only a few other fish species, really no more than I would expect to see on any given day around the reservoir, makes me think the die-off is due to some sort of disease that affects carp,” he said.
Windham guessed the cause might be koi herpes viruses or similar ailments, commonly known as “carp pox,” but so far the lab tests have ruled that out.
Windham’s report prompted phone calls to the Bulletin from across the United States and as far away as Canada, asking for more information. Several callers suspected something illegal had happened and would be covered up.
The tissues were sent to Washington State and results were expected with 10 days or so. But tests didn’t begin for several days because the laboratory scientist in charge was out of the office, Windham said.
This time, the results of the third round of tests should be available by the end of the month, Bauer said.