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Dead Fish Spotted on Willamette River

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A Springfield man is concerned for the safety of both wildlife and the community after spotting a number of dead fish on the Willamette River.

Chris Flowerday says he’s seen as many as six dead fish on the river in one day. One day this week he saw another dead fish–a steelhead.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife asked him to put the fish in a bag and give it to them for testing. They hope to take a look at it early next week.

Their assistant district fish biologist says they have been seeing an increase in a parasite and bacterial infection in fish.

“Locally, we’re seeing fish are dying of a parasite called Ceratomyxa Shasta, and that’s a parasite that fish are more susceptible to when the water temperatures are a little higher the flows are a little lower. So that’s definitely in salmonids, something that we’re seeing right now,” said Kelly Reis, assistant district fish biologist for ODFW.

“It concerns me that there’s a bunch of dead fish and we’re out here trying to to use this river and something might not be right with the river,” Flowerday said.

They’re also seeing higher rates of columnaris, a bacterial infection. But ODFW says this isn’t a health threat to humans and the community shouldn’t be concerned about going in the water or eating the fish.

Reis says anytime you’re cooking fish out of the rivers, make sure you cook it well and you should be fine.

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