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NC Now Not Alone in Battle Against Pfiesteria

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BALTIMORE — North Carolina is no longer alone in itsfight against pfiesteria. Maryland is recovering from a rash of fish killsand dealing with the same criticisms we've heard here at home.WRAL-TV5'sBrian Bowmanvisited Maryland's Eastern Shore.

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a lot like eastern North Carolina.Farming is a way of life for many families here, and hundreds of milesof water provide a booming seafood industry. But, the latest thing thestates have in common is something neither of them wants.

Commercial fisherman Ray Maddox says he knew it was a problem in NC,but didn't expect it in Md.

We begin with alarming new evidence.

Pfiesteria piscicida is big news in Maryland. The same state thatlinked the fish killing organism to human brain problems is also in theforefront in the battle against it.

Secretary Martin Wasserman of the Md. Department of EnvironmentalHealth, says states are starting to join together to fight thefish-killing disease.

The organism, or something like it, showed up first in the lowerPocomoke River last September, then reappeared twice this summer.Maddox had already seen video like this from our state and made theconnection.

In many ways, Maryland and North Carolina are a lot alike. In both cases,there has been some speculation, and some finger pointing as to why theorganism is showing up now. Some have said that the governments of both states are acting too hastily, using non-scientific information, whileothers have said that neither government has done enough to isolate theproblem and protect its waterways.

Secretary John Griffin of the Md. Department of Natural Resources saysthere's a lot of work to be done.

More people will have to trust them now that dead fish are turning upin Kings Creek at the Manokin River, a good 15 miles north of thePocomoke. Whether it has traveled, or if pfiesteria was already there,the people of Maryland, like those here at home are ready for answers.

Photographer:Joe Frieda

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