National Fisherman


A virus that caused large fish kills in the Great Lakes since 2005 may now be harmless.

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia or VHS has been found in several spots in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior since 2009 and is blamed for large-scale fish die-offs in all of the lower Great Lakes. But now, it appears this virus is benign. VHS can cause the internal organs of fish to rupture, and it was feared that it would wipe out commercial fishing. But Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Lake Superior Fisheries Supervisor Peter Stevens in Bayfield says even though the virus is still in the lake, they haven't found any fish kills this year — not one — from VHS.

"It does not seem to be causing massive fish kills or significant impacts to the fisheries resource, so far as we can tell," he said. "There are a number of theories. We really don't have an exact answer."

Stevens says it appears fish have created their own VHS vaccine.

"Those fish species will shed a little bit of the virus every year which acts almost like a booster shot to the fish immune system, causing these antibodies to be produced."

Read the full story at the Superior Telegram>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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