Chesapeake Checkup

What does mycobacteriosis mean for Maryland's striper stock?

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SICK STRIPERS: Mycobacteriosis has infected as many as 75 percent of Chesapeake Bay stripers-but not this one.

Chesapeake bay striped bass have been in the news lately-and the news hasn't been good.

"The state's striped bass are in trouble from mycobacteriosis, a disease that has infected up to 75 percent of the population," warned the Maryland Capital.

But according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), mycobacteriosis is nothing new, and the stock remains healthy.

"Fish can be infected, but not sick," says Charlie Gates, a MDNR spokesman. "It's an issue we've been concerned about for almost ten years."

The MDNR compiled a fact sheet on how to prevent "handler's disease" when touching infected fish and how to safely consume the fish. Among the tips are:

¿ Wear gloves to prevent cuts from fins and spines.

¿ Release fish with pronounced sores.

¿ Bass that are cooked properly pose no threat to humans.

To view the complete report, visit www.dnr.state.md.us.
- Sam Merwin