The Department of Agriculture may impose mandatory in-state fish testing to combat the spread of VHS, a fast spreading virus that's deadly to twenty-five species .
Donna Gilson with the state Department of Agriculture says it's something they are considering. Live fish coming into the state are already being tested for the virus. But this would expand to fish raised here.
There are twenty-one hundred licensed fish farms in the state. Three hundred are commercial and Gilson says if the virus should infect any of them it could be devastating. Aqua-culture sales are worth more than 14-million dollars to the state's economy.
But why is the Ag Department getting involved? Gilson says Ag is the designated fish health authority in the state. The department regulates fish farms including the DNR's fish hatcheries.