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Tougher New Rules at the Great Lakes

US - Federal regulators trying to contain a fish-killing virus in the Great Lakes region have issued rules for shipping live fish across state lines that some wholesalers say will be financially devastating.

The requirements were announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, reports JSOnline.

They require testing and inspections of 28 farm-raised and live bait species susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS.

According to JSOnline, the virus, fatal for fish but not believed to affect humans, has caused die-offs in all the Great Lakes except Lake Superior the past couple of years. It also has shown up in some inland waterways. Authorities say it endangers the region’s billion-dollar sport and commercial fisheries.

Most of the eight states on the Great Lakes have taken steps to prevent the disease from spreading. APHIS, the federal agency, issued an emergency order on interstate fish transport in 2006 and has modified it several times while developing the interim rules released this week.

Ellen Hardy

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