There’s an alert for area fishermen and fisherwomen as bass season is set to start next month.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says a smallmouth bass with a large growth on its lip has now tested positive for a rare cancer.
The state Fish and Boat Commission says that bass was caught last year in the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County.
For anglers at a trout-stocked pond near Clarks Summit, this news has them very concerned.
“We always want to keep the fish in good, healthy condition. It`s a good sport and most of us really catch the fish and put them back. It`s just a matter of sport,” said Jim Filipski from Throop.
“A lot of people go fishing as a hobby and a lot of people take the fish home and harvest it as well,” said Amy Hubbard from Scranton.
The commission isn't sure what caused the cancer or if other fish have it and are testing that part of the river.
“We have a group of biologists in the Harrisburg area and they have a testing protocol all set up. They`re getting fish from anglers and from other methods and they`re testing them that way,” said Rob Wnuk with the Fish and Boat Commission.
Some are worried this cancer could lead to a fish kill.
“The less fish is a lot less for us to catch,” said Bob Romanaskas from Scranton.
“Oh, I`m sure there`s more. There`s not one fish. That river runs from all the way from New York State to the Chesapeake Bay. There`s got to be more fish with cancer than that,” said Bruce Edwards from Scranton.
With bass season starting next month, many people plan to eat what they catch.
As far as eating bass that may have the cancer, the commission says it appears to be safe.
“So it`s mostly a personal decision by the angler. If the angler doesn't like the looks of the fish, then of course don`t eat it, but as far as we know, there`s no human health concerns,” said Wnuk.
Most say they`ll pass on the fish course.
“If they have cancer and stuff like that, it`s pretty bad. You just don`t want to eat it. You want to go to Price Chopper or someone else to buy your fish,” said Romanaskas.
The Fish and Boat Commission says if you happen to catch a fish that looks affected with the growth to report the location of where you caught it to the commission.