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View Full Version : VHS Update.... Please Read



doctariAFC
December 15th, 2006, 08:49 AM
VHS is the most dangerous disease to be discovered in recent memory for fisheries across the Great Lakes States and Provinces, bar none. Although I have yet to hear of any other Great Lakes State affected by the Federal Order issued on 10/21 by APHIS taking steps to stem the spread internally, NYS is taking a very proactive stance to attempt to contain this deadly virus.

One problem.... It is starting to become apparent the djinni is out of the bottle. More waters in NYS are tsting positive for VHS presence, including Chautauqua Lake, my favorite inland fishing lake. Little doubt exists as to the source of this infection - live baitfish.

NYS enacted emergency regulations on 11/21, which, by nature of the regulations, are in effect for 90 days, with the option to extend another 60. Unlike the Federal Order which speaks onl;y to transporting live fish, NYS makes no distinction between live and dead bait. Effectively, commercial baitfish dipping is illegal now in NYS. Commercial dipping is completely prohibited from infected watersheds. Commercial dipping is allowed from non-infected waters (looks like Oneida Lake is the only place in NYS not showing VHS), but, in order to sell baitfish from these waters, testing must be doone to certify the baitfish are VHS (and other maladies as well) free. The process is that for EVERY BATCH of minnows dipped, 60 fish must be sent in for testing. Cost of the test is $1,500.00! Cannot sell the minnows until a clean test comes back, which takes 28 days! Basically, no dipping... Individuals may dip or trap their own bait, but anglers can only use bait taken from the waters they will fish. Anglers are limited to 100 baitfish in possession (dead or alive, it don't matter) per angler. The wording of these regs is kind of funky, in that the DEC treats Lake Erie watershed, Upper Niagara River, Barge Canal, Lower Niagara River and the Lake Ontario watershed as SEPARATE bodies of water, despite the flow of water being continuous! This means anglers wanting to use live baitfish in Lake Erie must dip from Lake Erie. Upper Niagara River anglers must dip from Upper Niagara River, and so forth.

There is more, but, the important piece here is the fact that the NYS DEC wishes to make these emergency regulations PERMANENT. Public Comment period is open now on these regs, running through Jan 22. Public informational meetings concerning VHS in NYS are slated, I will be attending the January 8 meeting at Woodlawn State Park (Hamburg, NY), which starts at 7PM.

For more information on VHS, please visit http://www.weloveoutdoors.com. An article concerning VHS is posted on the home page, providing manylinks to additional resources concerning this malady, classified by the WOrld Organization on Animal and Plant Health as having "severe socio-economical ramifications!"