Texas Response to Largemouth Bass Virus: Five Years of Monitoring Freshwater Hatcheries and Fisheries

Since largemouth bass virus (LMBV) was implicated in 1998 and 1999 as responsible for fish kills in some of Texas' most prestigious bass fisheries (Fork, Sam Rayburn, Conroe and Toledo Bend lakes), the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has taken an active role to better understand this emerging pathogen. An extensive statewide survey of 49 water bodies conducted in 2000 coupled with continued monitoring of bass fisheries has detected LMBV in 23 water bodies within nine of 13 water basins in the state. The virus has also been detected at TPWD freshwater hatcheries and procedures intended to minimize the incidental spread of this pathogen have been implemented. These measures include routine testing of hatchery-produced fingerlings and available brood stock, limiting stockings from LMBV-positive hatcheries to LMBV-influenced waters, disinfection of fish hauling units, and fish health inspection requirement for fish imported to the state. The TPWD has also participated in annual LMBV workshops sponsored by Bass Angler Sportsman Society to facilitate nationwide research and communication efforts to better understand LMBV.

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