Bacteria Considered Culprit In Lower Klamath River Salmon Deaths

It’s been a rough few weeks in the Klamath River Basin. In mid-August, debris from the McKinney Fire got into the river resulted in a fish kill epidemic. And while the river’s important Chinook salmon were not believed to be affected then, there’s a no issue on the Lower Klamath, as the Daily Kos reports:

In the past three days, Yurok Fisheries Department monitoring crew observed approximately 30 dead salmon. Last weekend, the Department discovered approximately 35 disease-killed adult salmon and many other sick fish on a 40-mile segment of river from Blakes Riffle to Weitchpec, according to a press statement from the Tribe.

The Fisheries Department continues to monitor the Klamath River for sick and dying  salmon. The Tribe said the current quantity of dead fish does not yet constitute a “major fish kill event,” which is characterized by 50 fresh dead salmon in a 20-kilometer reach. The Tribe’s team of fisheries experts said they expect more fish to die, but it is too early to tell if there will be a catastrophic disease outbreak.

The fish died from Columnaris, also known as gill rot. In addition to surveying for dead fish, the department is capturing and analyzing fish for the presence of Columnaris and Ichthyophthirius multifiliis or Ich.