Whirling Disease was detected in the area of Banff in August, and more confirmed cases have been reported in other areas of the province in the past weeks.
Whirling disease is caused by Myxobolus cerebralis, a microscopic parasite of salmonid fish, including trout, salmon and whitefish. The organism possesses a complex lifecycle that requires a salmonid fish and an aquatic-worm, Tubifex tubifex, as hosts. Species such as rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and whitefish are particularly susceptible to whirling disease, though impacts of the disease differ among salmonid fish species and in different waterbodies. The severity of whirling disease depends largely on the age and size of the salmonid host. Young fish are most vulnerable, with mortality rates reaching up to 90 per cent.
Jay White of Aquality Environmental Contracting will be speaking about Whirling Disease at our club meeting on October 26.
Jay is also Vice President of the Alberta Water Council and previously sat on province’s whirling disease task force.