Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Skip the Local Sushi- New Tapeworm in Great Lakes

Asian Tapeworm
Asian Tapeworm found in Lake Huron Walleye
photo from
from a news article in the Muskegon Chronicle, "New tapeworm found in Great Lakes fish," by Jeff Alexander, Dec 22, 2008

Asian Tapeworms have been found in Lake Huron walleye by a researcher at the Environment Canada research station in Montreal. This is the 186th invasive species identified in the Great Lakes.

Michigan DNR reports that anglers have found the tapeworms in fish from Saginaw Bay and some inland lakes.

This species, Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, is a pernicious invader and is likely to spread throughout the Great Lakes region. In large fish the worm can reach a foot in length.

The tapeworm causes weight loss, anemia and death in young fish. It is safe for humans to eat fish with tapeworms when the flesh is well-cooked, smoked or pickled. Eating the fish raw is not recommended. According to a Michigan DNR memo, “It is a very bad idea to eat any freshwater fish raw or poorly cooked as fish parasites use fish-eating mammals and birds as hosts and it is not known if humans can also be hosts."

Fish tapeworms of various kinds are found nearly everywhere, but their numbers have soared in recent years. The DNR also recommends gutting fish immediately after making the catch and disposing of the entrails after returning to shore. It is illegal to dispose of fish guts in Michigan waters.

See DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Hazard Analysis
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