Biologists breed rainbow trout to save disease-ravaged population

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Biologists breed rainbow trout to save disease-ravaged population

Postby WB Staff » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:40 pm


Young rainbow trout with whirling disease

Colorado biologists breed rainbow trout to save disease-ravaged population

Joel Evans has been fishing the same stretch of the Gunnison River in western Colorado for more than 40 years. Like most anglers in those parts, for him, one species of fish is king: the rainbow trout.

What doe she like about them most? "There's a bit of fight involved," he said.

But in the 1990s, that fight between fish and fisherman shifted to one between rainbow trout and a parasite that invaded Colorado rivers. It causes whirling disease, an aquatic plague where young fish are deformed, swim in circles and die of starvation, reports CBS News' Barry Petersen.

Ever since, Renzo DelPiccolo of Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been working to keep the rainbow trout alive through various breeding programs, but at great cost and with only limited success. He's seen a tenfold decrease in the fish's population.

"The rainbow trout is hugely important to this state," he said. "Fishing in general -- it's estimated over $2 billion to the economy"

Scientists got a major break when they discovered a small isolated group of rainbow trout immune to the disease in a remote part of the Gunnison. There's disagreement over where they came from, but researchers now agree that their mission is almost biblical: turn those few fish into many.

Read the rest and see VIDEO at CBS News: ... opulation/

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