June 27, 2011
Tina Shaw, 612-713-5331
Keystone Hatcheries Fined for Whirling Disease Lacey Act Violation
Keystone Hatcheries, a division of Robinson Wholesale Inc., located in Illinois, was sentenced June 21, 2011 by Federal Judge Philip Simon to pay restitution in the amount of $35,000 to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) after pleading guilty to an Information charging the corporation with the sale and transport of fish into Lake County, one of 15 counties in Indiana from which they were prohibited to do so.
Following an outbreak of Whirling Disease at Keystone Hatcheries facility in Illinois, the INDNR restricted the company from delivering fish into the 15 counties of Indiana with populations of fish that could be affected by the disease. The restitution amount will go toward monitoring Whirling Disease in the State of Indiana waters where Keystone Hatcheries is known to have stocked fish.
In addition, Keystone Hatcheries was also ordered to pay a fine of $40,000 to be directed to the Lacey Act Reward fund, which is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to reward those who provide information about wildlife crimes and to pay the costs incurred in caring for fish, wildlife or plants that are being held as evidence in ongoing investigations.
Tim Santel, Resident Agent in Charge for Illinois and Missouri noted that the success of this case is “rooted in the strong partnerships our agents have with our state counterparts” and that “these partnerships are essential in stemming the tide against the spread of such diseases.”
Whirling Disease (WD) is a chronic, parasitic infection of hatchery-raised and wild salmonids (salmon and trout) that was accidentally introduced into the United States around 1955 through Brown Trout, and is currently found in 25 states. WD is caused by a microscopic parasite known as Myxobolus cerebralis, causing nerve and cartilage damage which results in the outward signs of whirling disease. It is common for fish carrying the disease to be symptom-free, but severe whirling disease infections can kill salmonid fish.
USFWS Fisheries Biologist Corey Puzach of the LaCrosse Fish Health Center explains that “WD is an extremely devastating parasite and controlling its spread is important in the protection of Rainbow Trout and other native salmonids.” The public can help slow the spread of WD by always disinfecting fishing gear and never moving or transporting fish, water, mud or aquatic plants to new locations.
This case is a result of a joint-investigation by the USFWS and INDNR, with critical assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
For more information about Whirling Disease, visit: http://whirlingdisease.montana.edu
For more information on the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visit http://midwest.fws.gov.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwsmidwest, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Connect with our Facebook page at facebook.com/usfwsmidwest, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.