New Jersey will stock its waters with bacteria-resistant rainbow trout for the upcoming fishing season with hopes to eradicate the furunculosis bacteria.
Last year the Garden State was forced to euthanize about 200,000 brown trout at a hatchery because they had been infected with a contagious disease, dubbed furunculosis.
For the upcoming fishing season officials will stock New Jersey waters with bacteria-resistant rainbow trout in an effort to prevent a reappearance of the disease.
Hatchery superintendent Jeff Matthews told reporters that many anglers will be happy with the switch; “We’ve done surveys of species catchability, and it turns out rainbow trout are easier to catch.”
Officials plan to stock all of New Jersey’s designated rivers and lakes with the bacteria-resistant rainbow trout with a total of about 570,000. The bacteria-resistant rainbow trout will be used to stock New Jersey’s waters for the next four years with hopes to completely kill off the disease.
Furunculosis is a fatal disease that only affects cold-water fish, and fish killed at the hatchery were euthanized with hopes of stopping the sickness before it got into the rivers and lakes.
Ed Mackin, president of the Knee Deep Club, told reporters that anglers should feel content regarding this decision; “After what happened last year, we’re really lucky to even be able to still have the opportunity to go trout fishing.”
The Department of Environmental Protection drained the hatchery raceways, blasted them with disinfectant, and let them dry with hopes off killing all bacteria.
It’s likely the disease was spread by ospreys, who have found the hatchery to be an easy food source. After several attempts to keep the birds away from the raceways, using strings and decoys, officials installed wire spikes to prevent the birds from landing on the poles near the raceways.