New Wis. Rules to Fight Great Lakes Fish Virus

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Under an emergency rule adopted today, Wisconsin anglers can no longer use imported bait unless it meets strict testing requirements, and they can't move live fish from the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River.

It's all designed to contain an exotic virus that causes fish to bleed to death and has been found in Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario.

The virus is suspected of reaching Lake Michigan as well, and wildlife officials want to keep it out of inland waters and Lake Superior.

Click here to learn more about the virus.

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board adopted the rule unanimously with little discussion Wednesday in a conference call.

The measure will go into effect by Monday.

Under the rule, possessing and using bait fish, including crayfish and frogs, from outside Wisconsin that haven't been tested for the virus is prohibited.

Also, possessing and using dead bait is prohibited except in Lake Michigan or the waters where the bait originated.

The rule says moving live fish and eggs from the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, as in live boxes or buckets, is not allowed unless tests for the virus are negative.

Boaters also must drain all water from bilges, ballast, buckets and live wells immediately after leaving the Great Lakes or the Mississippi.

Visit the DNR's Web site for more information on the new rules.

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