GARDNERVILLE - More than 300,000 Lahontan cutthroat trout will be killed today in the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery in Gardnerville.
A disease called furunculosis, which naturally exists in most rivers and lakes in Northern Nevada, has been discovered in the hatchery's 580,000 fish. To date, more than 80,000 fish have been lost to the disease, said Randi Thompson, public affairs officer for the Division of Wildlife.
The hatchery discovered the outbreak in late November and has been experimenting with several medications with assistance from California/Nevada Fish Health biologists to control or kill the bacteria.
"The fish are not responding to the medication primarily because we have to re-use about 65 percent of our water," said Bob Williams, field supervisor for the Nevada Fish and Wildlife. "The bacteria that is causing the disease continues to circulate in the system, reinfecting the fish."
The Lahontan cutthroat trout is a threatened species listed under the Endangered Species Act. These fish were scheduled for release in the Pyramid and Walker lakes. The remaining 200,000 fish at the hatchery will be placed in fresh water in an attempt to treat and protect the fish.
It has not been determined how the disease was introduced into the hatchery. The most probable cause is birds who swim in the East Fork of the Carson River, which flows behind the hatchery.