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MDWFP Investigates Fish Kill at Sardis ...

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MDWFP Investigates Fish Kill at Sardis Reservoir
JACKSON - Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) biologists recently responded to fish kill reports at Sardis Lake. Several shoreline areas were examined around the lake. The kill was over 97% white bass. An estimated 73,510 white bass died. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was alerted by MDWFP.

Live fish were taken to the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Larry Hanson identified the tentative cause of the kill as columnaris disease caused by naturally occurring bacteria. Fish were also infected with Aeromonas, another common bacterium. Stress from spawning, plus low water concentrating fish, likely contributed to the kill. A similar kill occurred in 2008.

"White bass are a 'live fast, die young' fish," notes MDWFP fisheries biologist Keith Meals. They rarely exceed 4 years old and are subject to many infections, hence, they have no size or bag limit.

White bass first appeared in Sardis in 1998 as an illegal introduction by anglers. Less than 1% of Sardis' anglers fish for them. White bass losses should be quickly replaced by their high reproduction and growth rates. MDWFP biologists will be monitoring Sardis' fish population for impacts of the kill.

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