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Illinois Announces Emergency Fish Virus Regulations

ILLINOIS, US The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has announced emergency regulations aimed at slowing the spread of fish-killing Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in the state after sampling of fish in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan detected the presence of VHS in two species of fish sampled.

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) is a disease of fish caused by an aquatic virus previously unidentified in the Midwest. While it does not affect humans, VHS can kill a substantial number of fish and has been spreading throughout the Great Lakes.

The new regulations will affect Regulations impact anglers, boaters, and the aquaculture industry.

"The new regulations we are implementing are immediate and appropriate steps in trying to slow the spread of this dangerous aquatic virus in Illinois," said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood.

"Sport fishing and boating are both very popular and important to the Illinois economy. The cooperation of anglers and boaters is essential in combating VHS." The new emergency regulations being implemented by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) regarding VHS that affect recreational anglers and boaters include:

  • Eliminating natural water from all equipment when leaving a body of water.
  • Emptying and draining all bait buckets, livewells, baitwells, bilges, etc. or any other compartment capable of holding natural waters when leaving a body of water.
  • Do not remove live VHS-susceptible species (see below) from any waters. Anglers may catch and keep VHS-susceptible species, but may not transport those fish live from the waters where caught.
  • Use of wild-trapped fishes from within the state as bait will be restricted to the waters where legally captured.