Province explains die-off of more than 1,000 fish in Okanagan Lake - InfoNews

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Province explains die-off of more than 1,000 fish in Okanagan Lake

August 03, 2016 - 9:51 AM

OKANAGAN - After getting lab results back, the province strongly believes a die-off of more than 1,000 kokanee salmon washed up on the shores of Okanagan Lake last month was part of a recurring, natural phenomenon.

Samples from more than 80 of the fish came back negative for disease or evidence of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, which affected kokanee in Kootenay Lake in recent years, the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations tells

“Biologists can’t be 100 per cent certain about the cause of the recent die off, however it is strongly suspected this is a recurring natural phenomenon caused by summer time temperature inversions in the lake,” states a spokesperson.

According to the province, there were at least three other die-offs of this kind in the past eight years, and this year’s event was relatively small by comparison.

Last year more than 336,500 spawning kokanee were counted in the lake, the most in more than 20 years.

“The 2016 die-off is not severe enough to have a significant impact on Okanagan Lake’s overall kokanee population. Kokanee stocks in the lake have enjoyed a strong recovery over the past several years,” the ministry says.

Kokanee are a land-locked type of sockeye salmon.

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