Louisiana Department 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.
For more information, contact Charlie Dugas at 225-765-2332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.