Import Restrictions on Certain Live Fish Withdrawn
The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has withdrawn a 2008 interim rule that established regulations to restrict the interstate movement and importation of live fish that are susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a highly contagious disease of certain fresh and saltwater fish.
In October 2006 APHIS issued a federal order prohibiting the importation of VHS-susceptible species of live fish from two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Quebec) and the interstate movement of the same species of live fish from the eight states bordering the Great Lakes. APHIS subsequently issued in September 2008 an interim rule to codify the federal order in the regulations. That rule was to have taken effect Nov. 10, 2008, but APHIS subsequently delayed the effective date indefinitely to give itself time to make adjustments deemed necessary to successfully implement the rule after receiving comments on a variety of issues, including the feasibility of implementing certain requirements.
In June 2014 APHIS rescinded the federal order, which had become duplicative with state regulations, after determining that it may safely be removed as long as states maintain existing VHS regulations and other practices to reduce risk. Accordingly, APHIS is withdrawing the interim rule as well.