The state Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for public input from fishermen as it updates regulations regarding the transport of baitfish.
The DEC will host a meeting on the subject from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 28 at its offices in Ray Brook and is also taking written comments until Sept. 10.
Since 2007, the DEC has banned anglers from transporting uncertified baitfish from one body of water to another in response to fears that the baitfish would spread a deadly fish virus called Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS). This was followed by a federal order prohibiting the interstate movement of several fish species from the Great Lakes states unless tested and certified as disease free.
VHS causes hemorrhaging of fish tissue, including internal organs, and can kill fish. VHS has been blamed for fish kills ranging from a few to thousands. It has been found in several water bodies including the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, Seneca-Cayuga Canal and several inland lakes in Wisconsin and Michigan.
Among the fish it affects are lake trout, rainbow trout, lake whitefish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, blue gill, rock bass and walleye.
According to the DEC the following suggestions have been identified for consideration:
For more information, visit the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov.
Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to NYSDEC Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, Attn: Shaun Keeler, 625 Broadway, Fifth Floor, Albany, NY 12233.