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View Full Version : VHS in NYS - This one is very serious



doctariAFC
January 9th, 2007, 12:43 PM
Last night at Woodlawn Beach State Park, Hamburg, NY, the NYS DEC held a public meeting to provide information concerning the fish pathogen, Viral Hemmorhagic Septicemia, and the steps the NYS DEC is taking to protect NYS waters and fisheries from the spread of this very deadly fish disease.

On Nov 21, 2006, the NYS DEC issued emergency regulations to attempt to curtail the spread of this pathogen from already known infected waters. Infected waters include Lake Erie, Upper and Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario and St Lawrence Seaway and Conesus Lake. Testing is currently underway on critical waterways and also every hatchery. However, we have been informed by the DEC that the DEC has only ONE on staff pathologist! Contracted work for analysis is in place with Cornell University but Cornell will NOT assume the responsibility and liability of their test results (not "certified" results), which means test results from Cornell resources must be validated and certified by the lone State DEC pathologist.

Much remains unknown. Despite the many unknowns, the DEC is moving forward with efforts to implement the emergency regulations issued and effective Nov. 21, 2006, as PERMANENT changes to fisheries regulations and statutes. The current emergency regulations has forced many local bait shops and wholesalers to curtail their operations, or cease operations altogether. Coupled with the elimination of collecting bait from infected waters (Lake Erie and Ontario, plus Niagara River being the largest bait factories in NYS), and mandatory testing per "lot" of bait collected from uninfected waters, the personal possession limit of 100 baitfish per angler, live or dead, will effectively cripple or shutter bait sales operations.

Justification of this arbitrary personal limit comes from regs in place in PA and in Ontario. Ontario has a personal baitfish limit in place (for some time) of 120 per angler. PA's personal limit is 50 baitfish per angler. However, both of instances are really applicable to anglers who collect their own bait, and serves in the interest of conservation, rather than slowing invasive species introduction or safeguarding against spreading exotic pathogens. In PA< as an example, anglers may possess unlimited baitfish, alive or dead, with an accompanying receipt of purchase of bait from the bait shop.

Although I have much information concerning VHS (gaining more by the hour, literally), I cannot relay everything in one post. What I can also share is that these regulations, as crafted, will basically also usurp any property rights landowners have concerning their private ponds, even if they've been dug at the owner's expense, and stocked at the owner's expense.

A public comment period is currently open, whereby NYS residents can submit a formal comment concerning parts or all of the proposed regulations, and this period closes on Jan 22, 2007.

ALl comments must go to:

Mr Shaun Keeler
New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12244-4754

A link to the proposed regulatory text and an impact statement is available on the DEC website, and an email link to submit comments electronically also is up, through 1/22/07. The DEC website is as follows:

http://www.dec.state.ny.us

Follow the VHS links, which I believe are on the right side of the site.

This one is very important to the future of angling in NYS. Might I also add that current regulations in place do address VHS, but enforcement is not effective. These broad new regs do far more damage to anglers and angling in NYS, with still no clear plan on enforcement, penalties, etc. This one sucks.

To quote Treebeard the Ent from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, "don't be hasty". This is exactly what the DEC needs to understand... DON'T BE HASTY. They admit they don't have much information, the strain, Type IV b, and since it is different than other known strains, using history of other known outbreaks are basically useless. This is an "indiscriminate" virus not very species specific, making VHS a very unique and very dangerous pathogen. But to act in a hasty manner smacks of covering one's own butt, rather than acting appropriately and with responsibility. WHen you wish to adopt emergency regs as written, it tells me not much thought and analysis has gone into actually addressing the challenge. The emergency regs are needed, but to simply make them permanent is not the right way to go, IMHO.

ANy questions, please feel free to email me at rich@weloveoutdoors.com

This one is serious.... Very serious...

doctariAFC
January 16th, 2007, 10:48 AM
ttt

Public Comment period closed Monday, January 22, 2007.

I have crafted a comment which addresses the woes in the current proposed legislative changes, and have a generic comment letter anyone may use (NY Residents only, please).
All you would need to do is print the letter, sign your name, print your name and address on the letter (in the appropriate place, of course) and mail to the address on the letter.

Again, must be sent in prior to Monday, January 22, 2007.