Tuesday, January 17, 2006
If you read the 'Welcome' entry, you saw pictures of the diseased striped bass I caught yesterday in the Providence River.
I don't know exactly what was wrong with them, but my theory is that these fish have Ulcerative Dermatitis Syndrome (UDS). UDS is a condition that has been observed in non-migratory stripers in the Chesapeake Bay since the mid-1990's, and is characterized by multiple lesions and sores.(Source.) It is often associated with degraded water quality and poor quality forage (little or no food). Fish get scraped up by nets, fishtraps, or power plant intakes, and then are rendered more susceptible to infection. These poor habitat conditions certainly exist in the Providence River in winter, though UCS is not officially known to occur in Narragansett Bay.
Another disease that affects Striped Bass in the Chesapeake, mycobacteriosis, is much more serious in that it kills the fish it infects, and can be transmitted to people (called fish-handler's disease, Yikes!). I don't think these fish had that, though, based on all the descriptions of mycobacteriosis that I've read.
Here's another good article you might find of interest from the Stripers Forever Web site.
If you think you know what this disease is, or have seen fish with this condition in Narragansett Bay, please write me and let me know. I am sending my pictures and descriptions to some fish pathology experts and will let you know what I find out.
I'll be tackling the issue of over-wintering stripers in an upcoming entry. Stay tuned... JT