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Great Lakes Article:

Hearing planned on rules prompted by fish virus
Holmen Courier (WI)
Published June 7, 2007


Emergency rules affecting boaters, anglers and bait harvesters and aimed at preventing the spread to inland waters of a deadly fish virus found in Great Lakes waters are the topic of a public hearing June 11 in La Crosse. The hearing will begin at 5 p.m. at the Logan High School auditorium, 1500 Ranger Drive in La Crosse.

The emergency rules affect all boaters, anglers and people who harvest bait from the wild. They went into effect April 8 for 150 days. The rules aim to avoid the accidental spread of the fish virus by prohibiting people from moving live fish and fish eggs from one waterbody to another, by limiting where they can use dead bait and by requiring that all water be drained from boats and boating equipment after being used on potentially infected waters.

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS virus, is not a health threat for people who eat or handle fish infected with it. But it can infect and kill more than 25 species of game fish, panfish and bait fish and it caused huge fish kills on some eastern Great Lakes in 2005 and 2006.

VHS has been confirmed in fish from Lake Michigan and the Lake Winnebago system and is believed to possibly be in Lake Superior and the Mississippi River. Wisconsin fisheries officials are concerned that the virus represents a serious threat to Wisconsin fish.

More information on VHS is available online at: http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/pages/vhs.html.

The emergency rule and associated fiscal estimate may be reviewed and comments electronically submitted through the Wisconsin Administrative Rules Web site: https://apps4.dhfs.state.wi.us/admrules/public/Home.

Written comments on the proposed rule may be submitted until June 15, 2007, via U.S. mail to Bill Horns, Bureau of Fisheries Management, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707 or by e-mail to bill.horns@wisconsin.gov. Written comments, whether submitted electronically or by U.S. mail, will have the same weight and effect as oral statements presented at the public hearings.

For more information, call Bill Horns at (608) 266-8782.

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