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VHS Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Information Page
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has released their final version of their new Fish Disease Control Order (FO-245). Click this link to go directly to the (new Adobe PDF Reader) final order: MDNR Final Version of New Fish Disease Control Order (PDF).
The MDNR Fisheries Division must be commended for extra effort to make the new order conducive to as much pesent fishing activity as possible while still striving to slow down the spread of the VHS virus. Movement of live tournament fish through connected waters is still allowed with a few exceptions. Read the order carefully and check out commentary on the GreatLakesBass.com Conservation Forum for more details and exception areas to be aware of.
Make sure to keep up-to-date on the latest information on this important issue by periodically checking the MDNR Fisheries Division web page at: MDNR Fisheries Division Main Page. Please remember to also consider that APHIS is still involved and will be putting out a final rule, possibly later this year. It is also possible within the Great Lakes region that other states and provinces might put out their own rules for this issue that might still impact some of our usual practices on the Great Lakes. Wisconsin is the state that bares watching at this time. Keep an eye on this VHS page for any updates and changes within the region, and use the contact information at the bottom of this page if you have questions or find out about an issue not listed yet.
USDA REVISES ITS
FEDERAL ORDER REGARDING THE MOVEMENT OF LIVE FISH SUSCEPTIBLE TO VIRAL
We have a lot to learn about the VHS virus and the issue has caught many anglers, biologists, fish managers, bait dealers, fish farmers and government officials off guard. VHS is a fish killing virus that has killed walleye, muskie, bass, perch and sheephead, sometimes in large numbers, over the past two seasons. VHS fish kills have been confirmed in Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River (this is not a complete list - still being compiled).
A little-known US federal agency - APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), Veterinary Services Aquaculture, part of the United States Department of Agriculture, issued a federal order in October 2006, amended in November 2006, to make it illegal to transport any live fish of certain susceptible species (link requires Adobe PDF Reader) across any state or international border within the affected or at-risk area - U.S. States: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; Canadian Provinces: Ontario, Quebec. Punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and $1,000 to $250,000 in fines according to one APHIS representative unless the fish are certified free of the VHS virus (takes about 8 weeks to test at present).
State and other agencies were caught off guard by the ruling and have since met with APHIS to discuss how to move forward. No further amendments have been issues since November, but various groups and anglers are still submitting comments hoping for clarifications and changes that may particularly help bait dealers and tournament anglers. Various states are reacting differently (link requires Adobe PDF Reader) to this issue. See links below.
-USDA APHIS - Veterinary Services Aquaculture
Kelley Smith or Gary Whelan 517-373-3375 or 517-373-6948, April 3, 2007
Michigan DNR Fish Disease Information
MDNR Confirms Spread of VHS in Great Lakes
MDNR VHS Briefing Paper Feb 2, 2007 (need Adobe PDF Reader to open)
Please report all fish kills by email to DNR-FISH-Report-Fish-Kills@michigan.gov
MDNR VHS in Muskie Confirmation Jan 24, 2006 (need Adobe PDF Reader to open)
-USFWS: National Fish Hatchery Addressing VHS
-DEC Confirms Virus in Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Fish
-Great Lakes Fish Health
Questions or Comments?
Contact: Dan Kimmel, 810-433-BASS (2277) or email:
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