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VHS: Wisconsin must take steps to thwart fish virus, say experts

US - Viral hemorrhagic septicemia has arrived in Wisconsin. This fish disease has wiped out large populations of fish in the East and has many of Wisconsin's fishery and agriculture experts very concerned.

Although not harmful to humans, it is clear that the virus has the potential to spread through inland lakes and streams like flu spreads through an elementary school in January. The experts believe it may affect everything from muskies to bluegills and trout to minnows.

The effect on our tourism, sportfishing and aquaculture industries could be catastrophic. Not even the Eurasian Water Milfoil threat will compare with this virus if it arrives in our lakes and streams.

After good discussions with experts, it is clear to me that if we hope to keep the virus out of our inland waters, six important steps must be taken:

  • The Natural Resources Board should immediately apply its Great Lakes and Winnebago system emergency measures to the entire state. The board should have done this in May when it learned of the viral fish kills near Menasha.

We can't afford to wait until more inland lakes are infected. Although inconvenient for anglers and bait dealers, this is no time for kid gloves. The risk is far, far too high. In fact, it is the anglers and bait dealers who should be insisting on this, along with resort owners, the aquaculture trade and all others who depend on tourism and healthy fish.

Source: JSOnline

Further Information

For more information, view the Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia Fact Sheet

the Fish Site Editor

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