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Natural Resources Board enacts emergency measures to stop fish virus

The state Natural Resources Board has banned the moving of live fish from the Lake Winnebago system to try and keep the VHS virus from spreading.

It also means that anglers must clean their boats and fishing gear when they leave the water.

On a conference call Thursday, board members said no to expanding the restrictions statewide. But they agreed to do so if viral hemorrhagic septicemia is found in another inland lake.

It's a major concern to Wisconsin's fishing industry because VHS is known to kill 37 types of fish.

The virus was found a week ago on Little Lake Butte des Morts, which connects to Lake Winnebago near Oshkosh. It was only the second inland lake in the country where VHS was confirmed.

VHS is much more common in the Great Lakes where the live fish ban and cleaning rules already apply, along with the Mississippi River.

George Meyer, Former Department of Natural Resources secretary, says the virus may have already spread. Meyer, who heads the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, says boat traffic on Lake Winnebago has expanded greatly in recent weeks.

VHS has not been found on Lake Michigan yet.