By CATHERINE WELCH
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is urging fishermen to take precautions against the spread of largemouth bass virus.
The disease has been recorded for the first time in Rhode Island at Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods.
DEM officials stress that the disease is in no way a health risk to people who eat or handle largemouth bass. What's worrisome is the threat of spreading the disease to other bass in ponds across the state. So fishermen should rinse off their boats and take other precautions, says DEM fisheries biologist Christine Dudley.
"It is contagious among largemouth bass, so a fisherman that catches largemouth bass in Olney Pond and keeps it alive in a bucket and dumps it another pond, is perhaps transporting the virus," says Dudley.
Largemouth bass virus was first detected in Florida 20 years ago. Since then it has been found in 17 southeastern states.
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