Officials say virus might be killing Lake St. Clair fish

Posted at 5:08 AM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 05:08:27-04

Michigan officials say a virus might be responsible for recent fish deaths in Lake St. Clair.

The Department of Natural Resources says people have reported several fish kills in the area, primarily affecting gizzard shad.

Fisheries research manager Gary Whelan says it's likely they died from viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus. The pathogen has been present in Lake St. Clair since the early 2000s.

Whelan says many of the fish had bloody patches on their skin, a common sign of the virus.

The virus is known to infect more than 30 species of Great Lakes fish. It's been found in lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario, along with a few inland lakes.

Anglers can help prevent its spread by refraining from moving live fish between water bodies and properly disposing bait.