The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests is investigating a die-off of a high number of dead fish in Lake Manitou on Manitoulin Island.

Dozens of dead fish are being washed ashore, but at this point, there is still no clear reason.

However, higher water levels, a heavy build-up of silt and/or higher temperatures could be factors.

In a press release, the ministry states: From time to time, there are sudden die-offs in fish populations. These deaths can be caused by low oxygen levels in the water, stress from spawning or changing water temperatures.
They are aware of the dead fish and specimens are being collected for testing.

Members of the public are welcome to contact MNRF whenever they spot multiple dead or dying fish, especially if the fish exhibit any signs of disease. This helps the ministry to understand diseases and how they spread, improve disease management and protect fish populations.

Anyone calling to report a die-off will be asked for the kind of fish, the species, how many have been found, what condition they are in and any visible signs of illness. They are also asked for the water body, nearest municipality, location or landmarks of the exact spot where the fish was found and recent weather or environmental conditions.

To report a fish die-off to MNRF, call 1-800-667-1940 on weekdays from 8:30 am to 5 pm. If a caller suspects that the fish may have died due to a spill or disease, they are asked to contact the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s spills action center at 1-800-268-6060.

Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin is also expressing concern on numerous reports of dead fish appearing on the shore of Lake Manitou on Manitoulin Island.
“Anytime there is a sudden or noticeable change in the environment or wildlife, there is a need for heightened awareness and investigation,” said MPP Mantha. “This occurrence may be an entirely natural and attributable to climatic conditions, water temperature, oxygen levels or depletion of food,” said Mantha. “However, as is true in so many situations, sometimes quick action can be key to preventing or containing the spread of disease or contamination.”

No matter what is causing so many fish to die, it is imperative that the concerns of citizens, business owners, and tourists be addressed. The public needs reassurance and fell confident that officials are on top of the matter and are working to minimize the negative impact on our wildlife as well as protecting public safety and the local economy, which is highly dependent on area tourism.