Coldwater bacteria threatens Great Lakes salmon

Capital News Service
LANSING — A bacterial disease that sickens fish whether raised in captivity or in the wild is imperiling popular salmon species in the Great Lakes Basin, a new study shows. The findings are based on testing lake, brook, brown and rainbow trout and Coho, Atlantic, chinook and steelhead salmon from the Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior watersheds, as well as fish used for breeding at state hatcheries in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Bacterial coldwater disease “threatens wild and propagated members of the salmon family worldwide” and can cause substantial economic damage, according to the study by scientists at Michigan State University. It’s the first comprehensive examination of the prevalence of the bacterium in the Great Lakes Basin. The disease is caused by a bacterium known as Flavobacterium psychrophilum, which has been associated historically with more fish deaths “than all other fish pathogens combined” at state hatcheries, according to the study.