SC DNR investigating mutated fish found in Upstate lake - FOX Carolina 21

SC DNR investigating mutated fish found in Upstate lake

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Photos of the mutated fish (Source: SC DNR) Photos of the mutated fish (Source: SC DNR)

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is investigating after photos of mutated fish from an Upstate lake appeared online.

The SC DNR tweeted photos of the fish on Wednesday.

The photos show deformities to the fish’s head.

The fish was caught in Lake Cherokee in Cherokee County.

Greg Lucas, a spokesperson for SC DNR released this statement on the unusual fish:

"According to Dan Rankin, SCDNR regional fisheries biologist for the Upstate, Dr. Ash Bullard from the Auburn Univ. Cooperative Fish Disease Unit said this likely is a neoplasm, but without the specimen to dissect, there’s no way to be 100 percent sure.  A neoplasm is a mutation resulting in abnormal growth (a tumor), which just like in humans, can be benign, pre-cancerous, or cancerous.   Fish get tumors just like other critters. 

I have not heard of additional fish from Lake Cherokee having tumors.  If anglers get a fish like this they can contact the Clemson SCDNR Office.  We will send the fish off to Auburn Disease folks.  We are also planning an electrofishing sampling event in Lake Cherokee in the coming days.   This should allow us to assess the health of additional specimens, but we fully expect this fish is an anomaly and not representative of most catfish in the lake."

SC DNR said they have forwarded the photos to the Southeastern Cooperative Fish Disease Project for input.

A Lake Cherokee also exists in Oconee County.

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