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For Release: IMMEDIATE						      
Contact: Maureen Wren
Tuesday, November 21, 2006						
          (518) 402-8000


	The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) announced today the filing of an emergency regulation to help
prevent the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) virus to
additional waters in the State.  The regulation, which takes effect
immediately, limits the release, possession, and taking of certain bait
and other live fish species. VHS is a pathogen of fish and does not pose
any threat to public health.

	VHS was first confirmed in New York waters in May 2006 in Lake
Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and has now also been confirmed in
several fish species in Great Lakes basin waters in New York State and
other states. Once a fish is infected with VHS, there is no known cure.
Because of the fatal virus's ability to spread, and potential impact on
fisheries, recreation, and the economy, the World Organization of Animal
Health has categorized VHS as a transmissible disease with the potential
for profound socio-economic consequences.

VHS can be spread from water body to water body through a variety of
means, not all of them known at this point. One known mechanism is
through the movement of fish, including bait fish. DEC, in cooperation
with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, is
sampling waters across the State, including all waters used as sources
of brood stock for DEC hatchery activities, to help determine how far
the disease has spread in New York.

	A Federal Order was issued on October 24, 2006, by the Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) in an effort to prevent the spread of
VHS to other waters and to protect economically important sport
fisheries and aquaculture.  The Federal Order prohibits the importation
of certain species of live fish from Ontario and Quebec and the
interstate movement of the same fish species from eight states bordering
the Great Lakes.  The Federal Order was amended on November 14, 2006 to
allow interstate movement of fish species provided the fish have been
tested and certified free of VHS based on testing procedures implemented
on the state level.  Information on the Federal Order can be found on
the APHIS website at www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/aqua/ .
	The Federal Order does not address the movement of fish within
New York State.  In-state movement of fish for use as bait or for
stocking could spread VHS in New York and cause significant adverse
impacts to the State's fish resources. Therefore, in order to protect
New York's valuable fishery resources, DEC has adopted emergency
regulations to: 

 	Prohibit the commercial collection of bait fish from waters of
the State where VHS has been detected. The rule amends State regulations
by removing certain waters impacted by VHS from the list of specially
designated waters that allow bait fish to be taken for commercial
purposes. A list of waters being removed is attached; 

 	Limit the personal possession and use of bait fish. The rule
limits the number of bait fish that may be possessed to a total of 100,
as well as restricts the use of bait fish for personal use to the
specific water from which it was collected. This rule does not pertain
to the possession of bait fish in the Marine District; and

 	Require live fish destined for release into the waters of the
State to be inspected by certified professionals and be certified to be
free of VHS and other serious fish diseases. The rule prohibits the
placement of live fish into the waters of the State (including
possessing, importing and transporting live fish for purposes of placing
them into the waters of the State) unless accompanied by a fish health
inspection report issued within the previous 12 months.  For all species
of freshwater fish, a fish health inspection report shall certify that
the fish are free of VHS, Furunculosis, Enteric Red Mouth, Infectious
Pancreatic Necrosis Virus, Spring Viremia of Carp Virus, and
Heterosporis. For salmon and trout, the fish health reports must also
certify that the fish are free of Whirling Disease, Bacterial Kidney
Disease, and Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHN). The fish
health reports must be issued by an independent, qualified inspector, as
well as conform with specific testing methods and procedures. 

	The emergency regulations became effective today - November 21,
2006.  Text of the regulation is available at
http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/propregs/ on the DEC
website. Hard copies of the rulemaking can also be requested from DEC by
writing to: Shaun Keeler, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4750;
or by calling DEC at (518) 402-8920. 

	While the emergency measure is in place, DEC will proceed with
proposing these amendments as a permanent rulemaking.  Publication in
the State Register on December 6, 2006, will initiate a 45-day public
comment period, concluding on January 22, 2006.  During this time, the
public may email comments by accessing
http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/propregs/ on the DEC
website. Comments can also be mailed to Shaun Keeler, NYS DEC, 625
Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4750 .       

List of waters where commercial bait fish harvest is no longer allowed
due to VHS:  
Cayuga County
	Fair Haven Bay (Little Sodus Bay)
	Lake Ontario
	Sterling Valley Creek (from road bridge on Route 104 to Lake

Chautauqua County
	Canadaway Creek (from mouth to Route 5)
	Cattaraugus Creek  

Jefferson County
	Beaver Meadow Creek
	Bedford Creek
	Chaumont River
	Cranberry Creek	
	Crooked Creek
	Flat Rock Creek
	Fox Creek
	French Creek and tributaries, excepting lower three miles of
French Creek
	Guffins Creek
	Horse Creek
	Lake Ontario
Little Stony Creek and tributaries, all above the first road crossing
(not including Six Town Pond)
	Mill Creek and tributaries, from first road crossing to Stowell
	Mud Creek
	Mullet Creek and tributaries (Mullet Creek upstream from Route
	Muskalonge Creek
North Sand Creek (from the highway bridge in Woodville upstream to the
Ellisburg-Adams town line)
	Otter Creek and tributaries
	Perch River
	St. Lawrence River
Skinner Creek and tributaries (downstream from the Lum Road, also
called McDonald Hill Road, located approximately 3.5 miles southwest of
	South Sandy Creek (from bridge at Ellisburg)

Livingston County. 
	Conesus Lake

Monroe County
	Braddocks Bay
	Buck Pond
	Cranberry Pond
	Irondequoit Bay
	Lake Ontario
	Long Pond
	Round Pond
	Salmon Creek (north of Ridge Road)

Niagara County
	Barge Canal (west of Lock E35 )
	Lake Ontario
	Niagara River including the Little Rivers
Tonawanda Creek/Erie Barge Canal (from Niagara River east to junction
with Barge Canal near Pendleton) 
	East Branch Twelve Mile Creek (from mouth to Route 18)

Orleans County. 
	Johnson Creek (from Kuckville to Lake Ontario)
	Lake Ontario
	Oak Orchard Creek (from Waterport to Lake Ontario)

Oswego County
	Blind Creek and tributaries west of Route 11
	Catfish Creek (north of the hamlet of New Haven)
	Eight Mile Creek (north of Route 104A)
	Lake Ontario
	Lindsey Creek to Jefferson county line
	first tributary of Lindsey Creek, lower one-half mile
	Little Sandy Creek west of Route 11
	Nine Mile Creek north of Route 104A
	Oswego Canal
	Rice or Three Mile Creek north of Fruit Valley
	Salmon River from Pulaski to Lake Ontario
	Skinner Creek
	North Sandy Pond

St. Lawrence County
	Big Sucker Creek, Towns of Lisbon, Waddington
	Black Creek, Town of Hammond
	Brandy Brook, Towns of Waddington and Madrid
	Chippewa Bay
	Chippewa Creek, Town of Hammond
	Lisbon Creek, Towns of Oswegatchie and Lisbon
	Little Sucker Brook, Town of Waddington
	Oswegatchie River (downstream of the dam in Ogdensburg)
	St. Lawrence River
	St. Regis River, from Helena to the St. Lawrence River, Town of
	Sucker Creek, Town of Oswegatchie
	Tibbits Creek, Town of Oswegatchie

Wayne County
	Bear Creek
	Black Brook
	Blind Sodus Bay
	Blind Sodus Creek
	East Bay
	First Creek
	Lake Ontario
	Port Bay
	Salmon Creek
	Second Creek (below falls at Red Mill)
	Sodus Bay
	Swales Creek
	Wolcott Creek


Don Zelazny
Great Lakes Programs Coordinator
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