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Great Lakes Article:

State issues emergency rules to limit spread of fish disease
Published November 21, 2006

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ State conservation officials have issued emergency rules against taking bait fish from many New York waterways in an effort to prevent the spread of a deadly fish disease.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Tuesday said the regulation takes effect immediately. It prohibits commercial collection of bait fish from state waters where viral hemorrhagic septicemia has been confirmed _ Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Conesus Lake and the St. Lawrence River _ as well as tributaries.

Relatively common in continental Europe and Japan, the virus causes internal bleeding in fish but is believed to pose no threat to humans.

The DEC, in cooperation with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, is sampling waters across the state, including all waters used as sources of brood stock for DEC hatcheries. Agency spokeswoman Maureen Wren said so far VHS has been confirmed only in the four waterways.

The emergency rules also limit personal possession to 100 bait fish, while generally restricting their use to the waters they were taken from.

Also, fish for release into state waters must be inspected and certified to be free of VHS and other serious diseases.

On Oct. 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibited importing from Ontario and Quebec and interstate movement of live fish from eight states bordering the Great Lakes, including New York, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.


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