During the summer and early fall of 2011, fish health surveys conducted by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) revealed the presence of largemouth bass virus (LMBV) in four West Virginia lakes.
The surveys were focused on monitoring overall fish health in water bodies where WVDNR staff collects broodstock for hatchery production. Several species of fish were collected from 10 water bodies and samples were sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lamar Fish Health Laboratory for analysis.
Test results indicated that LMBV was present at East Lynn (Wayne County), North Bend (Ritchie County), Stonewall Jackson (Lewis County), and Sutton (Braxton County) lakes. Several West Virginia fishing areas did test postive for LMBV including Mount Storm and Moncove lakes and Little Kanawha, Monongahela, Tygart, and New rivers.
Largemouth bass virus occurs primarily in the southern United States, but has been expanding throughout North America. When largemouth bass are infected with LMBV, they exhibit poor health, lack of growth and occasionally die. LMBV is more problematic during summertime and elevated stressful conditions. The spread of LMBV has been linked to increased stress, fish to fish contact , and movement of fish and water between water bodies.
To minimize the spread of LMBV and other fish pathogens, WVDNR encourages anglers not to transfer any live fish or water between water bodies, handle all fish with care prior to release, reduce stressful conditions especially during warm water months, and properly clean and maintain all boats, live wells, and tackle.
For more information, visit the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website at www.wvdnr.gov
source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources