Learn How You Can Fight VHS Fish Disease.

If someone told you there were simple things you could do to keep fish from dying and protect our waters, you’d want to know more, right?

Well, if you’re a boater or angler in the Great Lakes region, there’s a lot you can do to stop the spread of a fish disease called viral hemorrhagic septicemia. VHS kills freshwater and marine fish, including some species of bass, trout and perch.

The good news is you can help fight the disease by remembering to clean boats and fishing equipment. It’s also important not to transfer bait, water and mud from one waterway to another.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) created a Focus On Fish Health campaign to let boaters and anglers know that they’re on the front lines of slowing the spread of VHS. Find out more at www.FocusOnFishHealth.org.

The Focus On Fish website has some great information on the disease–such as how to recognize signs of VHS–and advice on how to dispose of dead fish and unused bait.

If you belong to a boating or angling group, the APHIS website tells you how to get free materials, like palm cards and Power Point tools, so you can get the word out to others.

And while you are out on the water having fun, be sure to bring your camera!  Enter our photo contest, where you can submit pictures of the biggest fish you ever caught or share memories of good times on the water. There are two categories: Your Best Catch and Family Fun on the Water. Winning photos get posted on the Focus On Fish Health website. And if you win, you get a free tee-shirt, duffle bag and hat. You can submit up to three photos each month and winners will be announced at the end of May, June, July and August.

For more information on contest rules and guidelines, visit www.FocusOnFishHealth.org.

Joining the effort to fight VHS is one way to make sure that future generations will have the same great photos to pass down to their children–and more wonderful stories to share.

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Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.