commends USDA for amending VHS fish order
order now allows for interstate movement of VHS-susceptible live
species of fish under certain conditions
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[NOV. 18, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- On Thursday, Illinois Department
of Natural Resources Acting Director Sam Flood applauded the actions
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for reconsidering a
comprehensive ban on live imports and exports of certain fish
species throughout the Great Lakes region to control the spread of
viral hemorrhagic septicemia.
Earlier in the week, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service issued an amended federal order that replaces the original
viral hemorrhagic septicemia order issued on Oct. 24. The amended
order now allows for interstate movement of live species of fish
susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia as long as they meet
certain conditions. This order affects the states of Illinois,
Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and
Wisconsin, and the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
order addresses some of the concerns that Illinois' aquaculture
industry had in regard to shipping fish that were destined for human
consumption, by allowing movement of fish to slaughter facilities,"
said Flood. "These fish may now be moved, even if they are not
tested for VHS, as long as they have a permit from an area APHIS
Procedures to allow for permits are currently being worked out
with the USDA's Illinois Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
office. Fish destined for research and diagnostic facilities will
also fall under these procedures.
Last month, Flood sent a letter to the Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service asking that the agency reconsider its original
order, which would have put an undue financial hardship on the
aquaculture industry in the Great Lakes states.
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Had the original order remained in effect, estimated direct
impacts of the 37 restricted species alone would have been $2.28
million per year in lost sales revenue for Illinois.
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia poses no threat to humans, and even
if the virus were located at an Illinois aquaculture facility, it
poses little danger for spread to other aquaculture operations.
The state, tribal or federal fishery facilities from the eight
states that have been identified as affected by viral hemorrhagic
septicemia or at risk may export fish if there is certification
showing the fish are free of the virus. The testing must be
conducted according to procedures developed by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and the American Fisheries Society, or by the World
Organization for Animal Health for Import and Export. The receiving
state must agree to the shipment of those fish.
A list of species susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia and
affected by this order is available at
Department of Natural Resources news release]