The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is destroying 434,000, 4-inch lake trout at a Vermont fish hatchery because of fears that stocking them in the Great Lakes could spread the invasive algae known as “rock snot.”
The fish are at the federal hatchery in Bethel, which was contaminated by water from the White River during flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.
Rock snot, known more formally as didymo, can overwhelm cold water lakes and streams.
The lake trout had been raised for stocking in lakes Erie and Ontario.
Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Terri Edwards says officials felt the risk of spreading rock snot was too great to stock the fish.
Officials tried to find other lakes, including one in New Hampshire, to take the fish, but none were suitable.
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