MONTROSE, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are working hard to save the rainbow trout in the Gunnison River.

(credit: CBS)

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Scientists have found a group of rainbow trout that are immune to a whirling disease which deforms the fish, and they later die of starvation.

The scientists are using the immune fish to breed, and then reintroduce their offsprings into the rivers across Colorado.

(credit: CBS)

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“The rainbow trout is hugely important to this state,” said one employee.

“How important? Is there a dollar number?” asked CBS News’ Barry Peterson.

“Fishing in general… it’s estimated over $2 billion to the economy,” he replied.

(credit: CBS)

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Officials say they have seen a three-fold increase in the number of trout.