Dealing with Largemouth Bass Virus: Benefits of Multi-sector Collaboration

Largemouth bass virus (LMBV), a recently identified pathogen, affected largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in the southeastern United States beginning in the 1990s. Concern about the impacts of this little-known pathogen on largemouth bass populations, effects on fisheries management, and the need to provide anglers and the media with consistent and accurate information prompted a private organization (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) to invite managers and researchers from state and federal agencies and universities to a series of five annual public workshops beginning in 2000. These workshops provided a mechanism to share information, identify and prioritize action items, and develop consensus information and outreach materials that could be provided to bass anglers and the media. Regionalizing the LMBV issue and collaboration among researchers, managers, and a fishing organization may also have allayed angler and media concerns. The process embodied in these workshops is offered as a successful example of multi-agency, multi-sector collaboration to facilitate information acquisition and guide action to address a regional fisheries management issue.

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