The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Nov. 14 modified an emergency order that prohibited movement of 37 species of live fish from two Canadian provinces and eight states bordering the Great Lakes.
The modifications allow for the interstate transportation of fish susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia out of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin under certain conditions to help prevent the spread of the disease.
The original prohibition was a response to several detections of VHS, a disease affecting some saltwater fish that also has appeared in recent years in wild freshwater fish of the Great Lakes region (see JAVMA, Dec. 1, 2006). The intent was to prevent movement of fish at risk of harboring the VHS virus while APHIS gathered information and created a testing and certification program for the interstate transportation of susceptible species.
The conditions for interstate movement of VHS-susceptible species under the current order vary, depending on whether the reason for transporting the fish is slaughter, research or diagnostics, or other purposes. Proper documentation must accompany the fish, and receiving facilities must dispose of wastewater and carcasses appropriately to prevent the spread of the disease.
Additional information is available at www.aphis.usda.gov.