In its efforts to prevent the introduction of viral hemorrhagic septicemia into state waters, the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources has proposed a permit system for transporting live fish, fish eggs, live bait and other aquatic organizations into, within or through the state, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council reported.
The department will be holding a public hearing in Frankfort, Ky., on the proposed regulation on Oct. 21 and will accept written comments through Oct. 31, 2008. People wishing to attend the hearing must notify the department at least five days ahead of the hearing date, as the hearing might be canceled if no one is interested in attending. Click here for more information on the hearing and proposal.
Although the proposed regulation exempts individuals transporting aquarium species, it does not specifically exempt businesses or organizations transporting such species. The regulation defines aquarium species as “species of fish that are legally sold in the pet and ornamental trade business and does not include fish used in aquaculture, the bait industry or fish sold for stocking in Kentucky.”
VHS, a reportable disease, has a high mortality rate and strikes many food and sport fish species, including salmon, trout, catfish, drum, bass, whitefish, perch, walleye, black crappie and bluegill, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Although the USDA has not identified VHS in ornamental fish, it is concerned that baitfish, including cyprinids (the family including goldfish, koi and common carp), could be a source of disease introduction.
The Kentucky proposal would establish a fish transportation permit for individuals, corporations and other business entities that transport live aquatic organisms, including fish, bait and eggs, into, through or within Kentucky. It also calls for a live fish and bait dealer’s license if the organisms are going to be sold to individuals, corporations and businesses in Kentucky or will be transported from Kentucky to be sold elsewhere
Under the proposal, transported ship would need to be disease-free. The proposal also regulates transportation tank water discharge practices.
Additional documents would be required for transporting fish from VHS positive states.