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Whirling disease affecting fish confirmed in 6 more locations near Banff National Park

Whirling disease affects trout and salmon and can cause infected fish to swim in a whirling pattern and die prematurely.

Disease first detected in Johnson Lake on Aug. 23

Whirling disease which affects salmon and trout has been detected in six more locations near Banff National Park. (Mike Lawrence/The Gleaner/Associated Press)

Officials have confirmed the deadly whirling disease, which affects fish, has been found at six more locations in waterways near Banff National Park.

"Clearly, having the disease fairly well established in Banff National Park isn't positive news,"  Roger Ramcharita, a regional director for Alberta Environment and Parks.

"We're still very hopeful that the incidences of whirling disease hasn't spread throughout the Bow [River] system."

Posted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website on Monday, the six latest locations include:

  • Spray River upstream from the confluence of the Cascade River and Cascade Creek.
  • Cascade Creek upstream from the confluence of the Cascade River and Cascade Creek.
  • Carrot Creek upstream of the confluence of Cascade River and Cascade Creek.
  • Bow River near Tunnel Mountain.
  • Lower Cascade River upstream from the confluence of the Bow River and the Cascade River.
  • Bow River downstream from the confluence of the Bow River and Carrot Creek.

Whirling disease affects trout and salmon and can cause infected fish to swim in a whirling pattern and die prematurely.

It was first detected in Johnson Lake on Aug. 23.

A note on the CFIA website reads "Additional detections of whirling disease from the ongoing sampling and testing do not mean the disease is spreading. Whirling disease may have been present for several years and the ongoing sampling will help determine the extent of the distribution and the most appropriate disease response."

Results from fish samples taken from the Bow, South Saskatchewan and North Saskatchewan river systems in the province will be back from the lab in October, said Ramcharita.

"At the peak, we had 10 to 15 different fisheries biologists and technicians in the field, three or four different boats at a time sampling fish, collecting fish, sending them to labs, decontaminating gear," he said. "It's a pretty significant operation we have been running for at least six weeks now."

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