Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Interim Regs Delayed

Oct 28: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a Federal Register notice [73 FR 63867] to delay the effective date of its interim regulations announced on September 9 [[73 FR 52173-52189, See WIMS 9/9/08] to restrict the interstate movement and importation into the United States of live fish that are susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), the highly contagious disease of certain fresh and saltwater fish.

APHIS indicated that the interim rule which was scheduled to become effective on November 10, 2008, will be delayed until January 9, 2009. The delay will provide APHIS with time "to consider all comments and make some adjustments to the interim rule that may be necessary in order to successfully implement it."

In its notice to delay the effective date, APHIS said, "Since publication of the interim rule, we have received comments that address a variety of issues. These issues include the feasibility of the requirement in the interim rule for a visual inspection of regulated fish 72 hours prior to shipment, the provision that Interstate Certificates of Inspection allowing interstate movement of live fish will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance, and the provision that laboratory testing is valid for 30 days from the date of sample collection for fish held in a water source that is not a secure water source.

"Based on our review of the comments received to date, we consider it advisable to delay the effective date of the interim rule from November 10, 2008, until January 9, 2009, while retaining November 10, 2008, as the close of the comment period for the interim rule and October 9, 2008, as the close of the comment period for the environmental assessment. This additional time will allow APHIS to consider all comments and make some adjustments to the interim rule that may be necessary in order to successfully implement it."

In its original Interim Rule announcement, APHIS indicated that ballast water is a potential pathway for VHS virus; however, APHIS said it "has neither the regulatory authority nor the technical expertise to safely regulate ballast water discharge. Therefore, we do not address ballast water in this interim rule. APHIS will assist the U.S. Coast Guard, which has clear regulatory authority for ballast water, in their development of ballast water discharge standards."

Access the FR announcement (
click here). Access the docket for this action to review and submit comments and access documents including the EA and economic assessment (click here). Access a list of species regulated by the order (click here).

Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Public Call Summary

Oct 28: The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) Executive Subcommittee has posted a summary of the discussions held on September 17, 2008, during its public call [See WIMS 9/12/08]. The call included discussions of ongoing and planned activities of the GLRC and news about actions to implement the GLRC Strategy to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes.

Topics for discussion included: Update on GLRC Initiatives; Future actions on GLRC Initiatives; and Updates by Stakeholders. Persons wishing to participate should RSVP as indicated in the details on the public call (See link below). Updates of the updates on the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Initiatives including: Toxics, Wetlands, Beaches, and Aquatic Invasives are also available on the website.

Access the 5-page summary of the call including a listing of those participating (click here). Access the GLRC website for links to updates on initiatives and additional information (click here).