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More than 1,000 dead fish have washed up on shores of Lake Dalrymple




RAMARA TWP. — More than 1,000 dead bass, rock bass and sun fish have washed up on the shores of Lake Dalrymple at Dalrymple Drive, says the County of Simcoe's director of solid waste management.

"The area was sort of limited. It wasn't like there was a big fish die-off in the whole of Lake Dalrymple," Rob McCullough said.

Dalrymple Drive is located on the edge of Ramara Township toward the City of Kawartha Lakes.

McCullough said he went to witness the die-off earlier this week. There are approximately 20 houses and cottages on the bay where the dead fish were found, he said.

"It's only there that I saw any fish die-off. I did drive around the lake and stopped at several areas in the County of Simcoe and that was the only place that I noted significant fish die-off," McCullough said. "I didn't see in any of the other locations even a single fish."

The ice had been out for less than half a week when residents began noticing the fish Friday, Ramara Township Mayor Bill Duffy said.

The County of Simcoe reported the finding to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

"At the point that we talked to them on Monday, they weren't aware of the situation yet, but they had been anticipating that there would be some fish die-offs because of the long winter and the extended period that the ice was in," McCullough said.

MNR spokeswoman Jolanta Kowalski said the fish die-off appears to be "winter fish kill."

"It happens usually in shallow, weedy lakes, which apparently this one is," she said. "Over the winter, the ice and the snow cover blocks the transfer of oxygen from the air into the water."

Dead organic material from aquatic plants use up the oxygen in the water and as the oxygen is depilated fish begin to suffocate and die, Kowalski said.

Cases of winter fish kill have been reported in Guelph, Toronto and Kemptville due to the long winter, she said.

The fish look "fuzzy" due to secondary fungal infections, Kowalski said.

If dead fish wash up onshore, clean-up is the responsibility of the landowner, whether that be the provincial or municipal government, a private individual or a business, she said.

Individuals undertaking clean-up of dead fish should remember to wear gloves and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards, Kowalski said.

Residents have been asked to double-garbage-bag the dead fish for county pick-up.

"We would collect as many double-bagged bags of garbage in front of their homes as required to get rid of this specific problem," McCullough said.

Residents can also bring the dead fish to the County of Simcoe's transfer station for free. The fish must be doubled bagged.

The station, located at 5200 County Road 169, is open Monday to Wednesday and Saturdays.

Fish can also be buried, Kowalski said.

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