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Michigan DNR requests help to contain outbreak of VHSv in St. Clair River, Lake Erie corridor

Last month the Michigan DNR confirmed the Lake St. Clair fish kill event is the result of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus. Now the public is asked to help stop its spread. Fish affected by VHSv often show bloody patches, like those shown here.
Last month the Michigan DNR confirmed the Lake St. Clair fish kill event is the result of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus. Now the public is asked to help stop its spread. Fish affected by VHSv often show bloody patches, like those shown here.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking for help containing the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus outbreak in the St. Clair River and Lake Erie corridor.

Read more: Michigan DNR confirms contagious virus involved in Lake St. Clair fish kill

According to the DNR, cold water temperatures allow VHSv to affect fish from the St. Clair River to Lake Erie.

“Extended forecasts indicate temperatures will continue to be cool, so we need to make sure anglers and the baitfish industry are aware of actions they can take to help prevent the spread of VHSv to new waters outside of this corridor,” said Gary Whelan, DNR Fisheries Division research program manager.

The DNR is asking that anglers don’t harvest minnows for personal use within the borders of St. Clair, Macomb, Wayne and Monroe counties until further notice.

Also, anglers should not move any live fish between bodies of water. Bait should be properly disposed of as well to prevent the spread of the virus.

Boaters should make sure bilges and live wells are emptied prior to leaving a boat launch and all equipment is cleaned and disinfected after use.

The DNR is also asking for the Michigan Bait Dealers Association and bait shops in the corridor to cooperate by refraining from harvesting baitfish from the mouth of the Black River, just south of Port Huron on the St. Clair River, to the Ohio border.

Sellers are also asked not to sell baitfish previously harvested within the borders of St. Clair, Macomb, Wayne and Monroe counties to any counties outside of this range until further notice.

“These measures will help prevent this invasive pathogen from moving into new waters outside of the currently affected area,” Whelan said.

The DNR is also asking that fish kills, with a focus on kills of more than 25 fish, be reported. Reports can be emailed to DNR-Fish-Report-Fish-Kills@michigan.gov.

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