Parasite attacking Minnesota fish
ST. PAUL, Minn - Researchers at the University of Minnesota say a parasite is attacking fish in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Nick Phelps and his team of researchers are trying to find out what is causing a disease that dissolves the muscles of fish. The research is taking place at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center on the U of M campus. He said there are 26 known infected lakes in the state, with 15 species.
"Some of the most commonly affected fish are yellow perch," Phelps said. "I am concerned. As far as diseases go, this is a nasty one. People aren't known to be susceptible to this disease. The parasite basically destroys the filet and you are not going to want eat it."
For example, infected fish have the appearance of freezer burn. It is called Heterosporis. If you suspect that a fish has Heterosporis or any other disease you can report the threat, and see a list of infected lakes, here.
Currently, Phelps said it is not clear how the disease is spreading. Fish in Wisconsin have also been affected. Currently, there is no way to measure the economic impact.
"When you have lakes that have 30-percent (of the fish population) infected you can imagine how big of an impact this may have to fisherman trying to catch the fish," he said. "When you have something that liquefies tissue and you don't know a lot about the biology and the ecology of it that is cause for concern."