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350,000 trout to be euthanized after bacteria outbreak at two Eastern Sierra fish hatcheries

In hopes of combating this outbreak, California Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to use two different types of fish vaccines developed by UC Davis scientists.

CALIFORNIA, USA — Two fish hatcheries in the Eastern Sierra are fighting a bacteria outbreak that is causing them to euthanize nearly 350,000 trout.

On Monday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that nearly 350,000 catchable rainbow trout need to be euthanized as they are showing signs of Lactococcus petuari, a bacteria that sickens fish.

CDFW said this outbreak was first detected in April at the Black Rock Hatchery in Independence and Fish Springs Hatchery in Big Pine. According to CDFW, these two hatcheries usually provide fish for stocking waterways in the Inland Deserts Region.

'Because this is a significant loss of fish that would normally be stocked for anglers in the 2022 season, CDFW is working to contract with an external vendor to provide catchable rainbow trout for planting in Mono County," CDFW wrote in a statement.

CDFW said this contract could be approved by as early as July, allowing for stocking to begin shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, other CDFW hatcheries across California have stepped in to support the eastern Sierra hatcheries by providing and stocking fish in priority waters.

“This loss is a huge disappointment, but we were prepared for this possibility and are doing all we can to ensure to continued angling opportunity for the public,” CDFW Fisheries Supervisor Russell Black said.

In hopes of combating this outbreak and improving hatchery capabilities, CDFW plans to use two different types of fish vaccines developed by UC Davis scientists. Additionally, CDFW plans on improving their infrastructure and modernizing their equipment, vehicles and facilities. 

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