Thursday, January 8, 2009

Are walleye anglers at a health risk?

An unsavory invasive species has shown up in Lake Huron and threatens to spill over into the other four Great Lakes.

The Asian tapeworm is the 186th invasive species to establish a beachhead in the Great Lakes and will provide a worrisome concern to those who eat raw fish, commonly called sushi.

It was first discovered by a Canadian researcher who found it in walleye; an at-risk species.

While some fish tapeworm species are native to the Great Lakes, the Asian tapeworm is particularly odious, reports from a Michigan newspaper say.

Scientists are saying it is "one of the world's most pernicious invaders."

The Asian tapeworm can grow to one-foot in length in larger fish and is know to cause weight loss, anemia and mortality in young fish, the Canadian researcher says.

The tapeworm is known also to crawl out of the mouths and gills of dead fish.

While it remains unknown whether humans can act an Asian tapeworm host, scientists say that people must thoroughly cook their catch before eating it to ensure protection.

"We see tapeworms in our fish but we're not really trained to look at them at an individual species level. Many of our walleye already have native tapeworms, but I don't know anyone who eats raw walleye," said Kevin Kayle, manager of the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station.

"I don't know to what extent these tapeworms will take off in Lake Erie since there already are native competitors."

Kayle also said that the huge volume of walleye born and raised in Lake Erie probably will keep the risk of an Asian tapeworm explosion to a minimum.

The National Center for Environmental Assessment has identified 30 potential invasive species that pose a "medium or high risk" of reaching the Great Lakes, another recent wire story says.

1 comment:

  1. Tapeworms in walleyes. One more thing to worry about.