More fish kills seen across state, but county is spared

Monday, May 1, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:06 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

This spring, Boone County has been spared from a high number of fish kills in the state this spring, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Unusually warm and dry weather is the culprit statewide, said Devona Weirich, a Conservation Department fish pathologist. Fish kills are common in spring because fish suffer stress when they begin to spawn. This year, however, the number of fish kills reported is about five times as high as normal, which is usually one per week, Department of Conservation research scientist Leana Zweig said.

“We’ve had a lot of low water, and this causes the fish to concentrate in smaller areas, so when you have more fish in a small area, if there are any kind of disease like parasite or bacteria, it’s easier to transmit,” Weirich said.

One of the largest fish kills this year occurred on the Kings River in Barry County, where thousands of fish were found dead over several miles. Zweig said anglers won’t be affected.

“The majority of the fish species we’ve seen have been suckers, which is not a primary game species for most fisherman.”

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