In recent days, one of Sierra Wave Media’s website commenters took a photo of what he described as about 15 dead and deformed fish. The fish were abnormally swollen with tumor-like lumps. He was unable to get any response from Fish and Game. Now, we have some information.
Andrew Hughan, Public Information Officer for Fish and Game in Sacramento, looked into the report of the bad fish. We also sent him the photo forwarded to us. You can see it on our website.
Hughan said, “These fish are not representative of what we hope the public identifies as a DFG planted fish. There are always deformities present in nature and in raised fish, especially in the bottom ponds of the raceways where weaker fish tend to congregate. Unfortunately Gull Lake was the recipient of such a group of fish,” he said.
Hughan said these deformities sometimes are due to diseases such as cold water disease which the fish survives at an early stage, but is left with physical abnormalities the remainder of its life. He said, “Often these instances are due to genetic anomalies. The department” Hughan said, “is seeing more of these abnormalities than in the past due to the recent conversion to triploid fish. When you subject the eggs to the pressures of captive rearing and the triploid process (to obtain sterility) you are in a very small number of cases affecting the physical attributes of the trout.”
In a related issue, Senate Bill 1148, now under debate as impacting hatchery funds, apparently proposes the stocking of triploid or sterile fish wherever possible, according to CalTrout. That group says sterile fish grow faster and “provide the kind of angling experience sought by the majority of anglers.” The Gull Lake anglers may disagree.
Andrew Hughan maintains that the deformities seen at Gull Lake are rare. He said, “The Department of Fish and Game spawns, raises and releases millions of trout to stock California’s lakes, rivers and streams every year and these deformities are an extremely small percentage, less than 1%, of the fish produced.”