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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Quarantine Order; Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus

[38 Pa.B. 4787]
[Saturday, August 30, 2008]

Recitals

   A.  Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) is an infectious disease caused by a rhabdovirus--the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV)--in a variety of fish species.

   B.  VHS has been designated a ''dangerous transmissible disease'' of animals under a temporary order issued by the Department of Agriculture (Department) under 3 Pa.C.S. § 2321(d) (relating to dangerous transmissible diseases). The current temporary order making this designation was published at 37 Pa.B. 6297 (December 1, 2007).

   C.  The Department has broad authority under the Domestic Animal Law to regulate the keeping and handling of domestic animals to exclude, contain or eliminate dangerous transmissible diseases.

   D.  VHS has caused death losses to various fish species in the Great Lakes and other infected waterways. It is of particular concern to this Commonwealth's aquaculture industry, in that its presence and impact may severely limit the market for this Commonwealth-produced fish and fish products.

   E.  VHS virus exists within the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Watersheds, which includes portions of Crawford, Erie and Potter Counties. It is also present in several States outside this Commonwealth, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.

   F.  The Department registers ''artificial propagators'' of fish and ''dealers'' of fish under 3 Pa.C.S. §§ 4201--4223 (relating to Aquacultural Development Law). There are Department-registered artificial propagators and dealers within the Lake Erie and the Lake Ontario Watersheds.

   G.  There is no known treatment for VHS infection, no vaccine against this disease and no feasible live animal test that can detect the presence of VHSV.

   J.   The Domestic Animal Law allows at 3 Pa.C.S. § 2329 (relating to quarantine) for the establishment of a Quarantine Order to address the presence and potential impact of VHS. The Department established a VHS-related quarantine by order of October 13, 2007 (published at 37 Pa.B. 5534) and that order was subsequently amended by order of December 8, 2007 (published at 37 Pa.B. 6428).

   L.  The Department seeks to amend its VHS-related quarantine to better-coordinate with the Fish and Boat Commission and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-APHIS).

Order

   The Department enters a General Quarantine Order and an Interstate Quarantine Order with respect to VHS, incorporating the foregoing recitals into this order. This order is entered under authority of the Domestic Animal Law, at 3 Pa.C.S. § 2329, and establishes the following restrictions and conditions:

   1.  Previous VHS-related quarantine orders. This order supplants the previous VHS-related quarantine orders issued by the Department. These previous orders were issued October 13, 2007 (published at 37 Pa.B. 5534) and December 8, 2007 (published at 37 Pa.B. 6428).

   2.  Overview. This order establishes a General Quarantine with respect to VHS-susceptible species (defined in Paragraph 3) produced, held or transported by Department-registered artificial propagators or Department-registered dealers from those Pennsylvania Counties that are--in whole or in part--within the Lake Erie Watershed, the Lake Ontario Watershed, or any watershed designated ''VHS-Affected'' or ''VHS At-Risk'' by the Fish and Boat Commission (FBC) or USDA-APHIS.

   This order also establishes an Interstate Quarantine with respect to VHS-susceptible species transported from certain designated States within which VHS has been detected or is reasonably suspected to exist, or any State that is subsequently designated ''VHS-Affected'' or ''VHS At-Risk'' by FBC or USDA-APHIS.

   3.  VHS-susceptible species. For purposes of this order, the term ''VHS-susceptible species'' shall include live animals of the following fish species, as well as any other species designated ''VHS-susceptible species'' by order of the FBC or USDA-APHIS after the effective date of this order: Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Bluntnose Minnow (Pimephales notatus), ''Bullhead catfishes'' (Ictalurus spp.), Brown Trout (Salmo trutta), Burbot (Lota lota), Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio), ''Crappies'' (Pomoxis spp.), Emerald Shiner (Notropis atherinoides), Freshwater Drum (Aplodinotus grunniens), Gizzard Shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), ''Whitefishes'' (Coregonus spp.), Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus), Rainbow Trout/Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Round Goby (Appolonia melanostomus), ''Redhorse Suckers'' (Moxostoma spp.), Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), Spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius), Trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus), Walleye (Sander vitreus), White Bass (Morone chrysops), White Perch (Morone Americana), White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens). The term ''VHS-susceptible species'' does not include dead animals, dead animal parts or the eggs of these species.

   The term ''VHS-susceptible species'' does not include any of the previously-listed species if it is no longer designated a ''VHS-susceptible species'' by USDA-APHIS after the date of this order.

   4.  General Quarantine.

   a.  A General Quarantine is hereby established with respect to the following counties, which are--in whole or in part--within the Lake Erie or Lake Ontario Watersheds: Crawford, Erie and Potter Counties. This General Quarantine shall also extend to the following:

   i.  A Pennsylvania county, any portion of which is located within a watershed designated ''VHS-Affected'' or ''VHS At-Risk'' by FBC through publication of notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

   ii.  A Pennsylvania county, any portion of which is located within a watershed designated ''VHS-Affected'' or ''VHS At-Risk'' by order of USDA-APHIS.

   The Counties described in this Subparagraph are referred to as the ''Quarantined Counties'' throughout this order.

   b.  The Department-registered artificial propagator of fish species or the Department-registered dealer of fish species shall not transport VHS-susceptible species from the Quarantined Counties unless the testing and documentation requirements set forth, in Paragraph 6, are met. The following exceptions apply:

   i.  VHS-susceptible species may be moved from point-to-point within the Quarantined Counties without the Department-registered artificial propagator or dealer having to comply with the referenced testing and documentation requirements, if the VHS-susceptible species are accompanied in transit by documentation stating the point of origin of the fish and the location within the Quarantined Counties to which they are to be delivered.

   ii.  VHS-susceptible species may be moved from the Quarantined Counties for testing and scientific purposes without the Department-registered artificial propagator or dealer having to comply with the referenced testing and documentation requirements, if the VHS-susceptible species are accompanied in transit by documentation stating the point of origin of the fish and the destination to which they are to be delivered for testing.

   iii.  If the Department-registered artificial propagator or dealer located within the Quarantined Counties documents to the Department that its operation is not located within the Lake Erie or Lake Ontario Watersheds, or any watershed described in Subparagraphs (a)(i) or (a)(ii), the Department may issue the propagator or dealer a written permit exempting that part of the propagator or dealer's operation from the requirements of this General Quarantine.

   iv.  VHS-susceptible species may be moved from the Quarantined Counties directly to a slaughter facility, processing plant or restaurant within this Commonwealth, if accompanied in transit by documentation stating the point of origin of the fish and the destination to which they are to be delivered for slaughter, processing or consumption.

   c.  The Department-registered artificial propagator of fish species or a Department-registered dealer of fish species moving VHS-susceptible species from the Quarantined Counties shall maintain records of any lot of VHS-susceptible species for 2 years and shall, upon request, produce these records for inspection by any employee or representative of the Department. The records shall include:

   i.  Species, quantity and destination of fish in the lot and date of movement.

   ii.  Origin of fish in the lot (whether hatched onsite or brought live from another source).

   iii.  Date of VHS-related testing, and results of these tests.

   iv.  Dates of any additions of fish to the lot, including the source, species and approximate number of fish added to the lot.

   d.  If VHS-susceptible species are transported from or within a Quarantined County in accordance with Subparagraph (b), the following apply:

   i.  The VHS-susceptible species shall not be deposited, introduced, dumped, commingled or otherwise permitted to enter the natural water system outside of the Lake Erie or Lake Ontario Watersheds, or any watershed described in Subparagraphs (a)(i) and (a)(ii).

   ii.  Water in which VHS-susceptible species are transported shall not be deposited, introduced, dumped, commingled or otherwise permitted to enter the natural water system outside of the Lake Erie or Lake Ontario Watersheds, or any watershed described in Subparagraphs (a)(i) and (a)(ii), above.

   5.  Interstate Quarantine.

   a.  An Interstate Quarantine is hereby established with respect to the following States, which have been designated by USDA-APHIS as being either affected by VHS or as being at risk of being affected by VHS (Quarantined VHS-Affected or VHS At-Risk States): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. This Interstate Quarantine shall also extend to any State that is subsequently designated a VHS-Affected or VHS At-Risk State by USDA-APHIS.

   b.  VHS-susceptible species shall not be transported into the Commonwealth from the Quarantined VHS-Affected or VHS At-Risk States unless the testing and documentation requirements set forth, in Paragraph 5, are met. The following exceptions apply:

   i.  VHS-susceptible species may be moved from Quarantined VHS-Affected or VHS At-Risk States, through this Commonwealth to another State, if the shipping container (tank, trailer, holding vessel or other container) remains biosecure in transit and the VHS-susceptible species are accompanied in transit by documentation stating the point of origin of the fish and the location outside of this Commonwealth to which they are to be delivered.

   ii.  VHS-susceptible species may be moved from the Quarantined VHS-Affected or VHS At-Risk States to facilities located within the Commonwealth for testing and scientific purposes without the transporter having to comply with the referenced testing and documentation requirements, if the VHS-susceptible species are accompanied in transit by documentation stating the point of origin of the fish and the destination to which they are to be delivered for testing.

   iii.  VHS-susceptible species may be moved from Quarantined VHS-Affected or VHS at-Risk States to a slaughter facility, processing plant or restaurant within the Commonwealth, if accompanied in transit by documentation stating the point of origin of the fish and the destination to which they are to be delivered for slaughter, processing or consumption.

   c.  If VHS-susceptible species are transported into this Commonwealth from the Quarantined VHS-Affected or VHS At-Risk States in accordance with Subparagraph (b), the following apply:

   i.  VHS-susceptible species shall not be deposited, introduced, dumped, commingled or otherwise permitted to enter the natural water system within this Commonwealth.

   ii.  Water in which VHS-susceptible species are transported shall not be deposited, introduced, dumped, commingled or otherwise permitted to enter the natural water system within this Commonwealth.

   6.  Testing and Documentation Requirements. VHS-susceptible species that are required to be tested under Paragraphs 4 or 5, shall meet the following testing and documentation requirements:

   a.  Within 12 months preceding movement from a Quarantined County or a Quarantined VHS-Affected or VHS At-Risk State, the VHS-susceptible species lot shall be tested in accordance with either the testing protocols described in the current edition of the Fish Health Section Bluebook adopted by the American Fisheries Society or the testing protocols of the Office of International Epizootiologies, and the lot shall be test-negative for VHS.

   b.  If fish are added to a lot of VHS-susceptible species after the testing described in Paragraph (a), previous, is completed, the lot shall be retested in accordance with Paragraph (a) and found VHS test-negative prior to movement.

   c.  Documentation of VHS status shall accompany VHS-susceptible species that are required to be tested under Paragraphs 4 or 5, at all times the VHS-susceptible species remain within the Commonwealth and shall, upon request, be produced for inspection by any employee or representative of the Department. This documentation shall include the following:

   i.  A completed Aquaculture Verification Certificate form. This form will be provided by the Department upon request. Requests can be made to the following:

Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services
ATTN: Aquaculture
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408
(717) 772-2852

   ii.  A copy of the test results reflecting that the lot is VHS test-negative.

   7.  Violations. Any person violating the requirements of this order shall be subject to criminal prosecution and/or civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

   8.  Effective Date. This Order is immediately effective August 30, 2008, and shall remain in effect unless rescinded or modified by subsequent order.

   9.  Additional Restrictions. This Order shall not be construed as limiting the Department's authority to establish additional quarantine or testing requirements relating to VHS.

DENNIS C WOLFF,   
Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 08-1594. Filed for public inspection August 29, 2008, 9:00 a.m.]




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