Tragic Loss: Mass Euthanasia for Diseased Salmon in Michigan


**Tragic Loss: 31,000 Atlantic Salmon Euthanized After Battling Disease**

A disheartening decision has been made at the Harrietta hatchery in Michigan, as over 31,000 Atlantic salmon have had to be euthanized following an unsuccessful attempt to combat a debilitating bacterial kidney disease.

**Devastating Dilemma for Hatchery Staff**

Ed Eisch, assistant chief in the fisheries division at the Department of Natural Resources, expressed the profound sadness felt by hatchery staff. “It was gut-wrenching for staff,” said Eisch, despite the fact that the affected fish represented a small fraction of the millions raised in Michigan hatcheries annually.

**Failed Treatment and Disposal**

After a futile 28-day treatment period using medicated feed, the hatchery team made the difficult decision to euthanize the sick salmon. The fish were loaded onto a truck and transported to a designated pit, where they were euthanized with carbon dioxide and buried with the utmost care and respect.

**Environmental Concerns**

The diseased fish posed a significant risk to Michigan’s waterways if they were to be released, as the highly contagious bacterial kidney disease could have decimated other fish populations. Hatchery officials believe the bacteria likely originated from brown trout at the facility, which unknowingly carried the pathogen.

**Hope Amidst Tragedy: Vaccine Development**

In the wake of this devastating loss, scientists at Michigan State University are diligently working to develop a vaccine that will provide protection for fish from similar outbreaks in the future. This research holds immense importance, offering a lifeline of hope in the face of unforeseen challenges.

**Lessons Learned and Paving a Path Forward**

The tragic events at the Harrietta hatchery serve as a poignant reminder of the fragility of aquatic ecosystems and the constant threats that fish populations face. Through careful disease management, environmental stewardship, and scientific advancements, we can strive to protect and preserve the delicate balance of our waterways.