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USDA to Lift Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Federal Order

Lucy Towers
16 April 2014, at 1:00am

US - The US Department of Agricultures Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is lifting the Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) Federal Order that was first issued in 2006 in response to an outbreak of the fish disease in the Great Lakes region.

After studying the disease, conducting surveillance and evaluating the latest science, APHIS has determined it can safely remove the Federal Order as long as states maintain existing VHS regulations and other practices to reduce risk. By removing the Federal Order, which has become duplicative with state regulations, we can still protect the health of farmed and wild fish while also supporting the interstate movement needs of the aquaculture industry.

Beginning June 2, APHIS will no longer prohibit or restrict the interstate movement of VHS-susceptible species of live fish from VHS-affected or at-risk states, including: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In addition, APHIS will no longer restrict the importation of the same species of live fish from Ontario and Quebec, Canada into the United States.

However, this action does not affect the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s salmonid importation requirements as found in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Although APHIS will no longer regulate VHS, the Agency’s Veterinary Services program will continue to work with states and industry to promote sound biosecurity practices and share scientific updates regarding the disease.