ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Lake Superior may weather VHS better than other Great Lakes

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia was first discovered in Lake Superior last December, joining the other Great Lakes that have had the virus for the past four or five years.

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia was first discovered in Lake Superior last December, joining the other Great Lakes that have had the virus for the past four or five years.

VHS can cause fish to hemorrhage internally or through their eyes and gills. It doesn't pose a danger to people. And commercial fisherman Jeff Bodin in Bayfield doesn't think the invasive species poses a danger to his business either.

"I don't think it's going to affect commercial fishing. The other lakes haven't had any problems. I think once the fish get that in them and get an immunity to it, they'll be fine," he said

VHS killed 30,000 freshwater drum fish in Lake Ontario in 2005, while several thousand round goby washed up on beaches in Lake Michigan two years ago.

UW-Stevens Point Aquaculture Manager Greg Fischer in Red Cliff doesn't think that'll happen in Lake Superior.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's tough for growing fish in Lake Superior because there is a lack of nutrients but on the flipside it may be saving Lake Superior ...," he said.

Fischer says the infected herring found off the Apostle Islands were just carriers of VHS, and weren't sick. He's hoping Lake Superior will weather this scourge.

"Every few years we happen to see one that rears its ugly head and causes problems for a short period. The fish and lake rebound, and deal with it. I think VHS is probably along the same lines."

For now, the Department of Natural Resources says the bigger risk may be VHS spreading to inland lakes, which have warmer waters and more nutrients for it to thrive.

Related Topics: LAKE SUPERIORSUPERIOR
What To Read Next