Do your part to advance research on AIS biocontrols and emerging diseases by reporting fish kills
Chances are, you’ve encountered a fish kill event at some point in your life. Fish kill events in Minnesota are widespread. Not only can these localized die-offs ruin your beautiful photo or private fishing spot, they can also provide clues of greater ecosystem-level issues such as Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv), water quality degradation, climate change, and invasive species.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimates that there are about 500 fish kill events per year, the vast majority of which go unreported. That’s where MAISRC researcher Dr. Nick Phelps, a user-friendly new reporting database, and you come in.
Reporting fish kill events that you see is an easy and effective way to do your part to help protect Minnesota waters. The online, user-friendly database is available now at http://z.umn.edu/fishkill. It simply asks for the date, the location of the fish kill, and other basic information of any fish kill you observe. Once reported, fish kills are triaged and, if appropriate, trained biologists and students will collect samples to diagnose the cause of mortality.
“It’s important to study and monitor fish kills to prepare, identify, and respond to new threats to fish populations in Minnesota,” said Phelps. “We can’t be everywhere at once, so we need the public’s help with this. When you report a fish kill, you’re helping us better understand trends over time which will ultimately lead to proactive management strategies and mitigating risks.”
Although all fish kills should be reported, ongoing MAISRC research led by Phelps will focus specifically on investigating carp fish kills. The goal of this project is to find new or emerging diseases of concern in these highly invasive fish, as potential biocontrol options that are lethal to carp but have no effect on native species.
So while you’re out and about this summer enjoying our beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams, do your part to advance research, help the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, and protect our waters by reporting fish kill events that you see.