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Sunday I caught two salmon from the St. Mary's river. One had a bulging red eye and they both had one deformed stubby pectoral fin. they seemed fine and I didn't think anything about it until I was reading about VHS. Has anyone else seen this. I'm wondering if the fish are safe to eat.

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good point mike, we should also learn how the disinfect our boats and any other equipment that may get splashed with water to slow/prevent the spread to our inland lakes. I learn more and about this every day at work, let me tell you this is the ugliest thing to hit the great lakes in a very long time. However it is a virus and "should" run its course, but nobody really knows how long it takes. Also want to give the MDNR a pat on the back for the steps they have already taken on this matter, it is for our own good!

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Over the last 3 days, I've been doing a lot of research on the VHS stuff. I've used three primary sources; The Michigan DNR website, the local DNR office here in Kzoo, and a Kzoo vet who's licensed to perform research for the DNR and wildlife studies and who's familiar with the disease.

Here's a hitlist of facts EVERY angler should know:

1) VHS is cold water species virus who's symtoms are very similiar to the Ebolla virus. It stands for Viral Hemoragic (I think the third word is syndrom, will double check). That basically means that the fish hemorages, or bleeds as a result from having the virus.

2) It only affects cold blooded species. Eating a piece of VHS infected fish will not affect any warm blooded animal(including humans). There are no restrictions on consuming fish due to VHS. It cannot be transmitted to a warm blooded species.

3) There has not been a large magnitude of die-offs due to this disease. It has killed a couple of warm water species(crappie and musky) as well as a couple of different varieties of bait fish. No significant die offs of cool water species(trout/salmon) have been attributed to VHS.

4) 95% of all of the fish in Michigan are known to be carriers of the virus. It's believed, but not known for sure, that certain attributes of ecosystems can help them to resist significant viral outbreaks. It's not known for sure if it will kill any fish infected, but it seems unlikely because nearly all fish are carriers. More research is needed in this area.

5) Fully expect EXTREMELY tight regulations on the use of spawn and most types of live bait this summer and fall. The post Walleye Express made has the link to the DNR website.

6) The DNR is asking that ANY fish caught that is suspected of having the virus be put on ice and delivered to a DNR station. Symptons are blood or bloody splotches in the eye of a fish, blood or bloody splotches from the scales of a fish, or blood hemoraging from a swim bladder or other internal organs. Salmon Quest, the bulging red eye would be suspect fish while the missing fin is likely a clipped fin or damage from another fish.

7) This came from the ocean and has been known for several years in the atlantic northeast portions of Canada. It likely came in from an ocean vessel.

8) There's no risk of fishing being closed in Michigan. I heard that rumor at the boat ramp several weeks ago. The fishing will not be closed. There will be bait regulations in place in the near future.

9) This was emphasized HUGE. Make sure ALL vessels are cleaned prior to fishing. It's our responsibility to help manage the ecosystems we enjoy in the region, and this is a simple way to do it. It only takes 15 minutes to rinse off the outside of a boat with a garden hose and to dump some soapy water through your live wells. I did this to my boat last night. Including uncovering the boat and covering it back up(by myself), I spent a half hour doing this. Cleaning the boat and bringing infected fish into the DNR stations are two simple things that help to give the proper people the tools to help our manage our natural resources.

I hope this post helps educate and encourage everybody who enjoys the state's fisheries. We should not fear this disease, it's been around for a very long time. We SHOULD all do our part and help conserve our natural resources.

Good/responsible Fishing!

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