Virus Killing Great Lakes Fish - Printable Version

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Virus Killing Great Lakes Fish - April - 05-08-2007

Quote:May 4, 2007 Seattle, Washington - Another threat in the American landscape that some microbiologists are calling “potentially catastrophic” to fresh water fish is a deadly Ebola-like virus known as “viral hemorrhagic septicemia,” or VHS. Until 1988, VHS was believed to infect only European fresh water fish, especially rainbow trout exported from the U. S. at the end of the 19th Century (known as “Egtved virus” in Europe.) But eventually, the virus was confirmed in Asian waters and the Pacific.

Then only two years ago in 2005, to the shock of aquatic specialists, millions of fish died in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair in the Great Lakes - bleeding from viral hemorrhagic septicemia. And more died in 2006. What happens in 2007 if the virus spreads into the Mississippi River and beyond?


Jim Winton, Ph.D., Microbiologist and Chief, Fish Health, U. S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Seattle, Washington: “We’re talking about thousands of metric tons of (dead fish) in some of the species. Some of these die-offs have resulted in dead fish piling up on the beaches literally one to two feet deep. We never see all the fish that die in an outbreak, even in fresh water. In the marine environment, we hardly see them at all. But if you see a thousand fish on the beach, there’s probably more than ten times or maybe even fifty times that many out in the water some place.

Symptoms of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia

1. Bleeding around the eyes, bases of the fins, sides and head
2. Pale gills
3. Bulging eyes
4. Distended (fluid-filled) belly corkscrew swimming behavior
5. Darkened skin overall

Virus Killing Great Lakes Fish - harflimon - 05-08-2007

Yea, It's forced the hatcheries around here in Michigan to stop making Pike, Walleye, and Musks for a year to try and quell the outbreak.

Pretty big hit to the sport fishers.