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Viruses may be killing Lincoln Park carp
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Viruses may be killing Lincoln Park carp

Friday, July 31, 2009
By PAUL TAKAHASHI
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Researchers are one step closer to solving the murder mystery of this summer: What's causing the carp to die in Lincoln Park?

This past week, between 50 to 100 dead carp per day have been pulled from the lake in Lincoln Park East, said Walter Kosinski, a park employee.

The deaths have prompted an investigation by officials with the Hudson Regional Health Commission, who said yesterday tests are inconclusive, but the most plausible cause for the carp die-off is one of three viruses.

"Barring someone spilling poison into the lake, we initially thought it (the cause) was low dissolved oxygen in the lake," said Gary Garetano, assistant director at the commission. "But the fact that there seems to be additional dead fish probably means that there's a virus going on."

There are three possible viruses that could be at work here, said county spokesman Jim Kennelly.

Spring Viremia of Carp and Koi Herpesvirus are viruses that were first found in the United States in 1999, he said. Both have caused "significant mortality in common carp," also known as Koi, Kennelly said.

The other disease researchers are investigating is called black gill, which became a problem 12 years ago at the James J Braddock Park in North Bergen, Kennelly said.

That virus is less suspect, he said, because area carp that survived the die-off over a decade ago may have developed an immunity to black gill, which is caused when carp rub up against certain vegetation.

The viruses don't affect humans, but visitors to the park have been advised not to fish in the lake. According to Garetano, the die-off may restore balance in the lake's ecosystem.

"It's unpleasant, but carp is overpopulated to begin with," Garetano said. "In the long run, this natural occurrence is a good thing."

Posted on: 2009/7/31 16:33
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