B.A.S.S. Hosts Largemouth Bass Virus Workshop
Scientists and Fisheries Mangers Share Findings on Feb. 22

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. --- (February 12, 2002) ---Continuing to lead the way
in trying to understand the mystery of Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV), the
Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) will once again bring together
some of the nation's best fisheries scientists to share and compare the
latest findings.

    This third annual meeting will take place Friday, Feb. 22, in Little
Rock, Ark., with more than 100 scientists and resource managers expected to
attend.

    Until this year, the virus that was first identified during the
mid-1990s seemed mostly a southern concern, with a discovery on the
Michigan/Indiana border during 2000 believed to be an isolated exception.
That is no longer the case.

    "LMBV Workshop III invitations are being extended nationwide, since LMBV
ceased being a southern phenomenon," said Bruce Shupp, conservation director
for B.A.S.S. "In 2001, the virus was identified in Michigan, Indiana, and
four reservoirs in Illinois."

    During the past five years, LMBV has been confirmed as a killer of
largemouth bass in over a dozens famous lakes, including Fork and Sam
Rayburn in Texas and Santee-Cooper in South Carolina. Additionally, it has
been found in otherwise healthy bass in many more waters. One of the most
important unanswered questions is what causes the virus to suddenly turn
deadly.

    Another is how LMBV is transmitted from fish to fish and from lake to
lake. And a third is how the virus originated.

    At first, many biologists believed that LMBV had been around  for years,
but was not recognized as a bass-specific virus. More and more, however,
scientists believe it is a new virus that is spreading through waters across
the country.

    On the positive side, the virus poses no threats to humans and, as yet,
has not caused the collapse of any fisheries.

    But scientists and fishery managers worry about its potential long-term
impact on the quality of bass fishing in lakes and reservoirs across the
country, and they are grateful that B.A.S.S. has initiated a team approach
to combating LMBV.

    "B.A.S.S. really has been at the forefront on this," said Phil Durocher,
chief of fisheries for Texas. "And we appreciate it --- a lot."
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For more information contact:
B.A.S.S. Communications at (334) 272-9530