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DNR considers more restrictions to combat fish virus

The state Natural Resources Board will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday in Milwaukee to consider expanding fishing restrictions. That's after the fish-killing viral hemorrhagic septicemia or VHS was found in Lake Winnebago.

Until now, the virus was most recently spotted in Lake Huron and experts are dumbfounded as to why it skipped Lake Michigan before going inland.

Numerous cleaning rules are already in effect for fishers, bait sellers and boats on the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and their tributaries.

Now, Mike Staggs of the DNR says those same rules could go statewide to keep the bug from spreading.

Staggs also says they'll test fish in other popular lakes such as Lake Geneva and the four lakes around Madison.

VHS has been compared to chronic wasting disease in deer. But George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation director, says it's actually much worse.

The former DNR secretary says the virus can kill up to three dozen kinds of fish. And that poses a serious threat to a $2 billion Wisconsin fishing industry with 26,000 jobs.