FOSCOE, N.C. – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission says whirling disease, a disorder affecting trout, has been confirmed in rainbow trout collected from Watauga River.
A statement from the commission says the trout were discovered near Foscoe. It’s the first occurrence of the disease in North Carolina.
Whirling disease affects rainbow and brook trout, two species found in North Carolina. The disease damages cartilage and skeletal tissue, causing fish to swim in a whirling motion. It doesn’t infect humans or pets, and eating an infected fish is not known to be harmful.
The commission has suspended stocking fish raised at its three trout hatcheries until it can confirm that hatchery trout are free of the disease. Hatchery fish are also being collected and being sent to an Auburn University lab for testing.