First Bees, Now Fish?
A virus in the U.S. Great Lakes that has killed tens of thousands of fish in recent years is spreading and poses a threat to inland fish farming, a U.S. Agriculture Department official said on Monday.
The pathogen, viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, causes internal bleeding in fish. It does not harm humans, even if they eat infected fish.
The federal agency issued an emergency order in October to limit movement of live fish caught in the eight states bordering the Great Lakes and two Canadian provinces.
“We’re concerned that this virus could get out of the Great Lakes and affect other populations,” Jill Roland, a fish pathologist and assistant director for aquaculture for the USDA in Riverdale, Maryland, said in a telephone interview.
“The virus could potentially affect the catfish industry,” she said.
Catfish make up the largest sector of the $1 billion U.S. aquaculture industry, accounting for $462 million in sales, according to a 2005 USDA aquaculture census.
Nasty stuff. Here’s hoping that the quarantine can be maintained–it sounds like this isn’t something we want spreading down the Mississippi…