The Cumberland River in western Kentucky has seen a massive spate of fish deaths. In April about 500,000 silver carp, an invasive species native to Asia. Officials are calling this the largest fish kill to hit Asian carp in the U.S.
Paul Rister, a biologist with Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources has said in a statement
: "Whenever there is one species of fish, you are definitely thinking viral or bacterial. It’s not anything water quality wise. If it was oxygen-related or chemical related you would see other species. Primarily what we are seeing below Barkley Dam is all Asian carp."
Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Director Ron Brooks told WKMS
that Asian carp die-offs have happened before. “There is a brain pathogen that has been found in Asian carp in previous smaller kills. It is called lactococcosis. Possibly it could be that, and that is what we’re going to be looking for in more fish we [get] to the labs.”
Into this week, it appears that the fish kill is petering out
. However, marine biologists do not know exactly what caused the deaths or whether the mystery pathogen will reoccur.