Emergency Moratorium Request Made to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board on Behalf of the Green Bay Muskellunge Fishery

Category: press release

 Feb 2nd, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Feb 2nd, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Statement of PurposeThe Green Bay Musky Coalition was formed in November, 2007, for the purpose of uniting the many concerned individuals & angler groups who share the common goal of supporting the Wisconsin DNRs reintroduction and restoration of the muskellunge population in the system of Green Bay and its tributaries. Although the reintroduction effort was started by the Department in 1989, it has been supported and partially funded by the Wisconsin Musky Clubs Alliance and Muskies, Inc. As concerned anglers, we have recently observed a trend of excessive harvest and increasing exposure of the local fishery. Consequently, much discussion has ensued regarding the most appropriate ways in which we might contribute to the preservation of the fishery in a positive manner, while supporting the (stated) DNR goal of reestablishing a self-sustaining trophy muskellunge fishery. After much consideration and discussion, we have concluded that the recent increase in angling pressure and harvest of legal-sized muskellunge, along with the impending threat to the fishery from Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (currently present in the Great Lakes system and discovered in nearby tributary waters in 2007), represents an immediate danger to the future welfare of the muskellunge population in Green Bay. As such, we formally request that the Natural Resources Board impose an emergency moratorium on all muskellunge harvest within the Wisconsin waters of Green Bay and its tributary system, until proper and complete studies can be conducted to determine the actual population in the bay system, and the immediate threat of VHSv has run its course. Supporting HistoryMuskellunge were extirpated from Green Bay in the early portion of the twentieth-century (Kapuscinski, 2006). However various measures taken over the latter portion of the past 30-40 years have led to the creation of an ecosystem more favorable for the reintroduction of the species. Great Lakes spotted muskellunge were first restocked into the bay system by the Wisconsin DNR in 1989, with the assistance of some of the local angler-interest groups (Gene Allen, Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin; personal communication, 12/2007). That assistance has historically included both manpower and financial support, and in fact the financial support continues to this day. Since its inception, the stocking program has received more than $200,000 from the Musky Clubs Alliance, and nearly $10,000 more from Muskies Inc. and the local Green Bay Muskies Inc. chapter over the past two years. Therefore to say that there is local angler support for the fishery is a gross understatement–in fact this support even extends beyond state lines.Since the reintroduction project began, over 113,000 muskellunge have been restocked into Green Bay and its tributaries (Kapuscinski, 2006). While these fish have more recently been stocked throughout the bay system, the lower Fox River and the southern portion of Green Bay were the primary restocking sites in the early years of the effort. In accordance with its muskellunge management plan, the Wisconsin DNR has been monitoring the fishery via fyke netting and electrofishing efforts for the past several years. However despite the vast number of muskellunge re-stocked into the bay system, the abundance of adult muskellunge remains relatively unknown. In 2005, Kapuscinski estimated an adult population of 425 fish (95% CI 173-1061) contributing to the spawning population, but reported that although spawning activity had been observed, evidence of successful natural reproduction had not been found to that point. Continued efforts in 2006 resulted in a population estimate of 2975 adult fish (95% CI 1642-5199; Meyers & Lange, WI DNR, 2007; pp.61-65). Given that the fishery was sampled in similar areas in both these years, it is somewhat curious that there was such a significant discrepancy between the population estimates in two sequential years. Kapuscinski cited a low number of recaptures as a possible explanation for the relatively low number of adult muskellunge estimated in the 2006 study. He also acknowledged the fact that, at least to that point, muskellunge surveys had not been conducted outside the Fox River. In fact this may help explain why there was such a disagreement in the population estimate for the following yearthe (yet) unknown degree to which fish within the system travel back and forth between the river and the southern portion of the bay. In addition, the size of the recapture gear may have been insufficient to capture the larger specimens (Minnesota DNR, 2007; p.32). But whatever the reason for the discrepancy, it seems obvious that additional work is needed to more fully understand the population dynamics of the system; and indeed, we feel that this should be a high priority for future resource allocation.Over the years since the restocking program began, musky fishing has improved dramatically in the bay system. In 2003, a forty inch size limit was increased to fifty inches and has remained at that level ever since. In the spring of 2007, a resolution was brought before the Wisconsin Conservation Congress requesting that the size limit on muskellunge be further increased to 54 inches in the Green Bay system. Despite the fact that this was approved by more than a 3:1 margin in 25 of 26 counties where voting occurred, the resolution was ultimately rejected by the Great Lakes Committee of the Conservation Congress by a vote of 6 to 7, with two members abstaining. Thus the resolution did not get passed to the DNR for further consideration, and at this time the status of this effort remains in question.Threats to the FisheryAs mentioned above, numerous reports (both anecdotal and confirmed) of angling success seem to indicate an increasing amount of pressure on the muskellunge fishery over the past few years. In fact, there appears to have been an alarming number of 50-54 inch muskellunge harvested from Green Bay waters in both 2006 & 2007. While information reported by the Lake Michigan Fisheries Team (Meyers & Lange, 2007; p.64) cites anecdotal evidence of six legal muskellunge harvested from the system in 2006, personal conversation with several area anglers suggests that the actual number is significantly higher; and in fact there are confirmed reports that one angler alone harvested at least six legal muskellunge that year. It has also been reported that more than 25 large muskellunge were harvested from the southern portion of Green Bay in 2007, with an unconfirmed report of more than 20 fish taken to a sole taxidermist. While we realize that these figures have not been obtained through formal creel survey efforts, we feel that they are indeed indicative an alarming trend of increasing harvest of the larger, breeding, fish from the system. Despite the harvest of many of these fish being witnessed by credible anglers, few confirmed reports exist regarding the true harvest; and this further contributes to the on-going controversy regarding the degree of exploitation within the system. Thus given the lack of published creel survey data for the fishery, there is (at the very least) significant uncertainty as to an accurate account of the actual muskellunge catch & harvest numbers from the Green Bay system. And coupled with the uncertainty regarding the true estimate of muskellunge abundance, we believe that there should be significant concern regarding an incipient decline in muskellunge stocks. But in addition to angling-related factors, there is also cause for additional concern for the bay system: VHSv.The fact that Green Bay and its tributary system now face an impending crisis from the Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv) is not in dispute. However there is much uncertainty as to the degree in which the disease will affect the muskellunge population in the system. The disease has already been shown to exist in the waters of Lake Michigan and the Lake Winnebago system; thus the risk of muskellunge exposure to VHSv in the Green Bay system is certain and significant, and fish of all ages are thought to be susceptible (Sea Grant, 2007). VHS can be transmitted to both juvenile and adult fish via exposure to both urine and reproductive fluids, and can enter the fish through their gills, open wounds, and possibly through the fin bases (Whelan, 2007). In addition, an infected forage base is another potential source of exposure to this disease. Although there has been no evidence of successful reproduction within the muskellunge population in the Green Bay system, Kapuscinski reported evidence of spawning activity in certain areas. Thus it is quite probable that a large percentage of the adult muskellunge population in the Fox River and lower bay will indeed be exposed to the VHS virus, perhaps as soon as this coming spring. And those fish not exposed to the disease through spawning activities may well be exposed via infected forage. Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus has been known to exist in Europe since the mid 1900s. Traditionally, the European strains of the virus have caused losses in rainbow trout farms approaching sixty million dollars (Whelan, 2007). However it was not until 2005 that the Great Lakes strain (Type IVb) was identified in a dead muskellunge collected from Lake St. Clair in 2003 (Elsayed et al, 2006). Since that time there have been reports of large losses of muskellunge in several areas in the eastern Great Lakes regions. But as the virus thrives in cold water and maximum viral replication has been reported between 6 and 9 degrees Centigrade, we are not likely to appreciate the degree of damage caused by the virus until the fish have gone through the spring spawning season. And as the physical stress imposed on the fish during spawning activities may predispose them to infection, the most significant VHSv-induced mortality might well be expected to occur in May and June; after the start of the annual hook & line angling season. Unfortunately, this may result in a situation where an additional year might be required before a protective regulation limiting muskellunge harvest can be drafted and implemented to protect the fishery. Thus although we realize that there is no possible way to predict the magnitude of next years muskellunge mortality, we feel that it is extremely vital that this situation be addressed well in advance of the 2008 angling season. Therefore we present this formal request for just this purpose. VHS in Other Waters of the Great LakesIn a recent personal communication with Dr. John Farrell (State University of New York; 12/2007), one of the preeminent muskellunge researchers in the country, we have learned that the numbers of muskellunge captured in spring fyke netting efforts in the St. Lawrence River system have decreased significantly over the past few years. Dr. Farrell reports that a record number of 48 adult fish were captured in their nets in 2003, where there had typically been 25-30 adult fish per year captured in previous years. However when the effort was repeated in 2006 after a three-year hiatus in sampling, only 12 adult fish were captured. Then in 2007 only 4 adult fish were found in the nets. Coincidentally, Dr. Farrell also reported that a large number of dead muskellunge were found in the St. Lawrence River in 2005, and many of them were found to be large, gravid females. He reported that later testing indicated that VHSv was indeed present in specimens obtained from these fish. Therefore given the fact that a significant number of dead muskies were found and later shown to be VHSv positive in that system, there appears to be a correlation between this disease and the recent decline in netting captures of adult muskellunge in the St. Lawrence River system. Lake St. Clair is a 670 square-mile body of water shared between the state of Michigan and the Canadian Providence of Ontario. Boasting one of the highest muskellunge densities on the planet, it has been a very popular destination for muskellunge anglers for many years. In 2005, Elsayed et al reported the isolation of VHSv Type IVb from a muskellunge that had been obtained from Lake St. Clair in 2003. (Note: This fish had been preserved and was eventually tested for the virus after a large number of dead muskellunge were discovered in 2005.) We have learned though a recent personal communication with Michigan DNR fisheries biologist Gary Whelan (12/2007), that an estimated 2,000-4,000 additional adult muskellunge in Lake St. Clair were killed by VHSv in 2006. The virus was isolated in the laboratory and subsequent testing of that particular strain of VHSv showed that muskellunge mortality was 100 per cent. Thus it seems that the virulence of the organism is quite alarming. In addition to the aforementioned muskellunge mortality, Mr. Whelan also cited reports from multiple anglers noting decreased numbers of young adult muskellunge in their catch in 2007. And while they did not find additional dead muskellunge in 2007, the full impact of the large fish kills in the Lake St. Clair fishery still remains to be seen, as the system is entirely dependent upon natural reproduction to maintain the fishery. Besides muskellunge, Whelan has also reported the presence of this virus in various species such as freshwater goby, freshwater drum, yellow perch and gizzard shad; all are important muskellunge forage (Becker, 1983; Bozek & Burri, 1999). While it seems that there is no way to be certain of the full magnitude of the negative impact caused by VHSv in the Lake St. Clair fishery, the findings reported by Dr. Farrell and Mr. Whelan (along with the discovery of the virus in virtually all of the important muskellunge forage species) suggest that there should be cause for great concern here in the waters of Green Bay. We simply do not know how severely our muskellunge population will be affected by this virulent organism. Unlike the Lake St. Clair and St. Lawrence River systems, the Green Bay system has been totally dependent upon restocking to rebuild the spotted muskellunge fisherya fact that makes the recent VHSv-induced halt in hatchery production evening more concerning. And given the limited habitat of the Fox River and the southern bay compared to those areas affected by VHSv in the eastern Great Lakes, both Dr. Farrell and Mr. Whelan have advised significant concern regarding the potential muskellunge kill in a worst-case scenario in our system. Economic RamificationsWhile there is no direct analysis reporting the value of the Green Bay muskellunge fishery, there are some indirect data available. In 1999, the estimated value of the entire recreational sport fishery (including muskellunge, perch, walleye & bass) in the 670-square mile Lake St. Clair (Michigan) was in excess of $30 million dollars annually (US EPA, 1999; p.6). In fact, sport fishing in Lake St. Clair accounts for nearly half of the entire Great Lakes sport fishing effort. And while the individual contribution of the muskellunge fishery is not reported in this data, Lake St. Clair is considered by many to be one of the premiere Muskellunge fisheries in North America. As such, its popularity as a preferred muskellunge angling opportunity in this country seems to have grown significantly over the past two decades. Thus it seems reasonable to assume that the sport of musky fishing accounts for a significant percentage of the total dollars spent in this fishery, and given the growing popularity of the sport, it seems as though it will continue to provide substantial economical benefit to that area. Also, given that the Green Bay musky fishery is in many ways similar to that in Lake St. Clair, it seems obvious that the musky fishery will make an increasingly important contribution to the local economy in northeastern Wisconsin.Lake Webster is a 774-acre lake in northeastern Indiana, and is considered by many as the premiere lake for muskellunge in that state. The reintroduction of muskellunge into the lake began in 1978 and has been a tremendous success ever since (Indiana DNR, 2005; pp.20-24). The results of a 2005 DNR creel survey indicate that well over 35,000 hours were spent on the pursuit of muskellunge from April through November, with an average musky trip lasting around 6.2 hours (compared to 5.2 hours for bass, and 3.3-4.5 hours for panfish species). Muskellunge anglers made nearly 6,400 trips to Lake Webster during this time, travelling from 53 counties within Indiana and from 9 other states. In contrast, bass anglers came to Lake Webster from only 29 other counties within Indiana, and from only 4 other states. Thus it seems that muskellunge have eclipsed bass in terms of angler effort, at least in that area. According to the Indiana DNR report, the per-trip value placed upon the musky fishery was $53/angler, for a total value of $339,147 spent directly on musky fishing on Lake Webster during that time period. (Note: These estimates were based upon 2002 US Fish & Wildlife data which has since been revised and increased. Thus the current value of the fishery is likely higher.) However the report also suggests that the value of the muskellunge fishery may have been significantly higher, given the vast number of anglers visiting Lake Webster from outside the immediate area. In fact, this is a trend that is becoming more apparent here in the Green Bay fishery as wellmore anglers visiting from locations not within the immediate area. Indeed, the appearance of RVs in the parking lots of the boat launches on Green Bay with increasing frequency seems to support this assertion.In a study prepared for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Gartner et al (2002) determined that the average daily expenditures for all types of cold water anglers in Minnesota was $33.90 for home purchases and $71.31 spent while fishing in areas away from home. They also determined that anglers who fished the waters of Lake Superior by boat spent $44.79 per day while fishing in their home area, but $121.13 per day if they were fishing away from home. As the muskellunge population tends to be focused more inland in Minnesota, it seems reasonable to assume that the Lake Superior numbers might be more indicative of the economic value of the musky fishery in the Green Bay system. And as daily expenditures on lodging ($23.42) and restaurant food ($20.02) were two of the three highest monies spent by anglers fishing Lake Superior by boat, it would also seem reasonable to expect similar figures for northeastern Wisconsin. But while no muskellunge-specific economic data are available in the Minnesota report, the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (USFWS, 2007) report does provide some evidence as to just how valuable the musky fishery might be. According to the USFWS report, data available for esocid species indicates that 24,762 angler-days were spent in pursuit of all Esox species nationwide in 2006. (Note: A sample size of only 10-29 anglers spent an additional 1,818 angler-days targeting esocids in the Great Lakes during this same period.) And as 31% of the total freshwater angler-days in 2006 were accounted for by anglers in the East North Central and West North Central geographic (non-Great Lakes) divisions, it would seem that as many as 7,676 angler-days were spent in pursuit of esocids in these regions during 2006. Although the true economic value of the non-Great Lakes muskellunge fishery in these areas will probably never be fully defined, it does seem likely that the value exceeds the $1,000,000 mark on an annual basis, given the economic value of angler-days as reported by the USFWS and Gartner et al. Furthermore, as it is widely accepted by musky anglers that the current hot spots in these regions are the Green Bay system and such Minnesota lakes as Mille Lacs, it also seems reasonable to assume that these areas will continue to receive an increasing amount of angling effort for the next several years. Thus it appears quite likely that the muskellunge population in the Green Bay system will become an even more important economic factor for the local area in the coming years.Eagle River is another area in Wisconsin that has received economic benefit from the muskellunge fishery. Through personal communication with Mr. Conrad Heeg, Executive Director of the Eagle River Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (01/2008), we have learned that the value of the muskellunge fishery in that area is terrific. As an example, Mr. Heeg shared data that values the annual Professional Musky Tournament Trail (PMTT) outing held there at approximately $350,000. He also pointed out that there are three other tournaments held in the Eagle River area on a yearly basis, with a total additional number of participants at about 1,700. So while the economic impact of these three other tournaments has not been quantified, it is very likely that this number is significanteven if one simply considers the average of $53 per angler trip (again, probably significantly higher in 2008 dollars). And it should be noted that these tournaments only account for four weekends in a six-month long season. Obviously the value of the musky fishery to the Eagle River economy is tremendous; but imagine the financial impact to the area if the fishery were to become threatened.From the preceding discussion it should be apparent that much work is needed to more fully appreciate the value of the muskellunge fishery in northeastern Wisconsin. But while the exact economical value of the Green Bay fishery remains unknown, it is reasonable to assume that it currently represents a significant contribution to the local (and one could argue, statewide) economyand in fact there is every expectation that this contribution will continue to grow over the next decade. Thus we believe that any potential threat to the health and welfare of the fishery deserves serious and immediate consideration. Formal RequestGiven that the strain of muskellunge present in the Green Bay system is essentially identical to those strains indigenous to both Georgian Bay and the St. Lawrence River, we feel that there is adequate biological evidence that the existing population of muskellunge in Green Bay has the same trophy growth potential, and should be given every opportunity to achieve this potential. For example, it has been estimated that the fish in these systems are capable of reaching lengths in excess of 58 inches (Casselman, 2007). And given the abundance of forage in the Green Bay system, there is no reason to expect any less performance from our muskellunge. Indeed, there have been muskellunge of over 56 inches documented in the Green Bay system on several occasions. And as Kapuscinskis model illustrates, one might expect fish a sixty-inch fish in Green Bay to approach the current World Record mark of just under seventy (70) pounds. Needless to say, the presence of muskellunge approaching world record weight could have tremendous socio economical significance for both the state of Wisconsin and the communities bordering the bay system. Thus it appears that there are many reasons justifying the need to protect the muskellunge population as aggressively as possible. Therefore given the aforementioned concerns regarding the current and future health of the muskellunge fishery in the Green Bay system, and the increasing angler effort in response to the tremendous growth potential of the fish, we feel that the potential all-cause mortality of adult muskellunge in Green Bay will be much more significant than initially anticipated. We therefore seek to minimize non-natural mortality to the present population and thus preserve as many adult muskellunge as possible; especially given that the forthcoming VHSv event could easily impact the fishery much more severely than currently anticipated. And given the lack of definitive information regarding the population estimates of the lower Fox River & southern Green Bay, and the insufficient data regarding the true numbers of muskellunge caught (and harvested) from these areas, we feel that the present regulation allowing harvest of adult muskellunge exceeding fifty (50) inches is not sufficient to protect this world-class fishery. Therefore we formally request that the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board impose a temporary emergency moratorium on all muskellunge harvest within the system of Lake Michigan, including the waters of Green Bay, the Fox River upstream to the DePere Dam, Sturgeon Bay and the tributary streams considered outlying waters. While we realize that the duration of such a moratorium would be at the discretion of the DNR biologists, we would expect that a period of at least 4-5 years might be necessary to more fully evaluate the fishery, gather additional management data, and determine the magnitude of any effects of VHSv on the health of the remaining muskellunge. And as the earliest year classes of restocked fish seem to now be in the 50-55 inch range, it seems obvious that a period of total catch & release will also provide an opportunity for the Department biologists to determine the most appropriate minimum size limit, and establish any new size limit regulation they deem necessary. We would welcome the opportunity to work with them in any way they deem appropriate, and through much discussion we have concluded that there may be several options available to assist the DNR in this endeavor. For example, enhancement of creel survey data could be achieved through increased volunteerism among local angler-interest groups, and the incidence of direct and delayed mortality might be decreased through the development and sponsorship of an educational campaign directed at enhancing the success of catch & release efforts among muskellunge species-specific and incidental-catch anglers. One other valuable option available to us is the recruitment & funding of graduate student-level research within the system. Any or all of these options might be viable, and there are likely to be other opportunities as the effort progresses over the next several years. SummaryWe fully anticipate that the impending threats to the Green Bay muskellunge fishery will require a continued and concerted effort between multiple parties. While some of these efforts may only require the contribution of personal time by members of the various groups, we also face the reality that certain efforts will require funding. Thus we are quite willing to embark on a fund-raising campaign, perhaps to even partially (or fully) fund graduate student research to benefit the fishery. Certainly, the needs of the system will require period reevaluation and refinement of the objectives over the next few years, and we would appreciate the opportunity to assist the local biologists on an on-going basis.At some point, when the full impact of VHSv in the system has been appreciated, it will likely be appropriate to return to a regulation allowing the harvest of a certain number of adult muskellunge from the system. As mentioned, we will fully support this and will welcome the opportunity to work with and support the local DNR biologists to determine the most appropriate size limit for the system, considering both the sociological and biological goals. It is our sincere hope that by the time that harvest is once again allowed, there will be more objective data available upon which to base these important management decisions. We do not wish to impose unrealistic management expectations onto the local fisheries biologists, and therefore fully expect that it will take cooperation between all concerned parties to establish and achieve realistic management objectives for the muskellunge fishery. We thank you for your attention in this matter.Respectfully Submitted,Thomas C. Betka, MD, BS (Aquatic Biology)Research Director, Titletown Chapter, Muskies Inc.Green Bay, WI Submitted on behalf of the Green Bay Musky Coalition, including (but not limited to):-The Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin-Titletown Chapter, Muskies Inc.-Joe Bucher, National Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame Angler, Producer/Host of Fishing With Joe Bucher TV, Editor Emeritus Musky Hunter Magazine-Steve Budnik, Past-President Muskies Inc.-David Cates, Current-President, Muskies Inc.-Pete Maina, The Next Bite Media Sources, and renowned angler-USCG Captain Dennis Radloff, Green Bay musky guide and co-author of the proposed 54 size limit resolution.-Larry Ramsell, Past-President, Muskies Inc., and renowned musky historian-Russ Warye, Wisconsin Guide, Author and Publisher of Fishing the North Country books-Greg Wells, Past-President, Muskies Inc., and co-author of the proposed 54 size limit resolution.-Steve Worrall, MuskieFIRST/OutdoorsFIRST MediaBibliography:Becker GC. Fishes of Wisconsin (1983). The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin. ISBN 0-299-08790-5.Bozek MA, Burri TM. Diets of Muskellunge in Northern Wisconsin Lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 19:258-270, 1999Casselman J. Determining minimum ultimate size, setting size limits, and developing trophy standards and indices of comparable size for maintaining quality muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) populations and sports fisheries. Environ Biol of Fishes, 2007, 79: 137-154(18).Elsayed E, Faisal M, Thomas M, Whelan G, Batts W & Winton J. Isolation of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus from muskellunge Esox masquinongy (Mitchell), in Lake St. Clair, Michigan, USA reveals a new sub lineage of the North American genotype. J of Fish Dis, 2006, 29: 611-619 Gartner WC, Love LL, Erkkila D & Fulton DC. Economic Impact and Social Benefits Study of Coldwater Angling in Minnesota. Prepared for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. June, 2002. (http://www.tourism.umn.edu/research/DNRColdwaterAnglingFinalReport.pdf)Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Section. Division of Fish and Wildlife. Current status of the fish community and quality of fishing at Lake Webster, Indiana. 2005.Kapuscinksi KL, Belonger BJ, Fajfer S and Lychwick TJ. Population dynamics of muskellunge in Wisconsin waters of Green Bay, Lake Michigan, 1989-2005. Environ Biol Fish. DOI 10.1007/s10641-006-9132-2.Meyers LS & Lange RM. Reintroduction of Great Lakes muskellunge into Green Bay; in Lake Michigan Management Reports. Lake Michigan Fisheries Team, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Presented at the 2007 Lake Michigan Committee Annual Meeting, Ypsilanti Michigan, March 2007.Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife. Long Range Plan For Large Northern Pike and Muskellunge 2008 2020. November, 2007.Kipp RM and Ricciardi A. Minnesota Sea Grant, VHS Virus fact sheet. May 2007. (www.seagrant.umn.edu/fisheries/vhs_virus_facts)US EPAGreat Lakes National Program Office, et al. Conference Summary Report. Lake St. Clair: Its Current State and Future Prospects, Advancing bi-national efforts to protect and restore Lake St. Clair. 1999.US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior. 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. FHW/06-NAT. October, 2007.(http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/nat_survey2006_final.pdf)Whelan GE. Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) Briefing Paper. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 08/2007Editor’s Note:Please reference this link on MuskieFIRST for continuing discussion.http://muskie.outdoorsfirst.com/board/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=38494&posts=208&start=1

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