Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Virus Threatens to Take Bite out of Ohio Fishing Industry

GREAT LAKES -- Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia, VHS for short, has forced a federal ban on bringing live fish in and out of Ohio from other Great Lakes states.
Thirty-seven types of fish are on the banned list, including Rainbow Trout or Steelhead. Ohio brings in 400,000 Steelhead from Michigan every year as yearlings to stock Lake Erie's tributaries.

"This is big time," says Phil Hillman of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. "We've got people from all over the world coming to Ohio to fish for Steelhead so you're talking about big bucks in terms of economic impact and the fisherman are real upset about this, they're already up-in-arms over this."

The virus can kill fish, upsetting delicate ecosystems, but pose no problem to people eating the fish.

The ban could also affect bait shops. Some kinds of minnows are already on the list and others, like Fathead Minnows from Minnesota and South Dakota, could be added. If that happens, the supply of bait would decrease dramatically.

"It could almost put us out of business," says Marvin Hilley of Bass Boss Bait in Summit County. "Myself, as a wholesaler, plus the baitshops because they all depend on minnows to be shipped in from these states."

Great Lakes groups are currently in Washington D.C. to try to get the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to lift the ban before fishing season begins again in March.

Comments on "Virus Threatens to Take Bite out of Ohio Fishing Industry"


Anonymous Joel said ... (2:13 PM) : 

Thanks for the link to Chautauqua Creek Journal and other steelhead blogs.


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