of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) personnel collected samples
of wild crawfish from consenting crawfishermen at various
locations in the Atchafalaya Basin on May 15, 2007 to assess
the presence of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) in these
populations. The samples will be delivered to the LSU School
of Veterinary Medicine for analysis.
These samples were
taken to determine if the virus is present in wild populations
following the discovery of WSSV in a crawfish pond in St.
Martin Parish. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and
Forestry (LDAF) along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the
LSU School of Veterinary Science are the lead agencies that
will be working to further investigate and control the spread
of WSSV in managed pond populations.
Crawfish with the
WSSV pose no health risk to humans when consumed, but is a
serious threat to the crawfish resource. Shrimp with the disease
exhibit prominent blotching and spotting; however, crawfish
do not. The only clinical sign seen in crawfish is lethargy,
weak behavior and high mortality.
LDWF is charged
with managing wild crawfish in the state. “We will continue
to work with all of the agencies involved to help resolve
this problem,” said LDWF Inland Fisheries Program Manager
Charlie Dugas. “We would like to thank the commercial
crawfishermen for allowing us to sample some of their catch
and ask for their continued support as we try to determine
if WSSV exists in wild crawfish populations.”
Later this week,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will collect additional
samples from the Atchafalaya Basin, and the LDAF and the LSU
AgCenter will continue to development Best Management Practices
(BMPs) to address and prevent the spread of the disease.