VHS Disinfection/Release Protocol

NOTE: The following requirements will generally apply to all Scientific Collector Permits working with fish as a universal precaution regardless of whether the permittee is working in VHS positive waters or not.

    A few exceptions I have been made for single source permits. Examples:
  1. A nature center that takes trips to a single lake or stream a couple times a week with students; and
  2. A research study where the boat and equipment is assigned to a single body of water and is not removed during the entire survey season.

If live fish collection, transport, and holding are going to occur:

    In response to the VHS virus concern in Michigan, the following is required for collecting, transporting, and holding live fish from the wild:
  1. All equipment coming in contact with water and/or fish and/or specifically working with aquatic invertebrates including: boat hulls, boat trailers, buckets, waders, nets, etc. must be disinfected using a 1 cup of bleach to 10 gallons of water solution at the end of each sampling day or prior to entering each successive water body if more than one is being sampled per day. If long periods of time (a week or longer) are anticipated in between sampling events, thorough drying of all equipment in the sun is an acceptable alternative to using the bleach solution.
  2. If using a boat, live wells and bilges must be emptied and disinfected with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 10 gallons of water at the end of each sampling day or prior to entering each successive water body if more than one is sampled per day.
  3. All water used to transport live fish or aquatic invertebrates from the point of capture to the holding location must be disposed of in a municipal sewer system w/ water disinfection capabilities or on the grass/ground at least 300' from a water body.
  4. All live fish that have been held for study, when they are no longer needed, must be euthanized and disposed of in a licensed landfill or any other approved location provided by the applicant. Under no circumstances are any live fish after being removed from a water body and held elsewhere to be released.
  5. All water used to hold and rear fish or in performing any experiments must be disposed of in a municipal sewer system w/ water disinfection capabilities or on the grass/ground at least 300' from a water body.
  6. All voucher specimens must be euthanized while in the field and preserved in a formalin or ethanol solution prior to transportation.

If the permit is strictly catch and release (w/ a few voucher specimens):

    In response to the VHS concern in Michigan, the following is required:
  1. All equipment coming in contact with water and/or fish and/or specifically working with aquatic invertebrates including: boat hulls, boat trailers, buckets, waders, nets, etc. must be disinfected using a 1 cup of bleach to 10 gallons of water solution at the end of each sampling day or prior to entering each successive water body if more than one is being sampled per day. If long periods of time (week or longer) are anticipated in between sampling events, thorough drying of all equipment in the sun is an acceptable alternative to using the bleach solution.
  2. If using a boat, live wells and bilges must be emptied and disinfected with a 1 cup of bleach to 10 gallons of water solution at the end of each sampling day or prior to entering each successive water body if more than one is being sampled per day.
  3. All voucher specimens must be euthanized while in the field and preserved in a formalin or ethanol solution prior to transportation.

For more information on VHS, go to the Fisheries link on the Department of Natural Resources web site at: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr.