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PFBC SETS TIME FOR PUBLIC MEETING ON SUSQUEHANNA SMALLMOUTH
January 16, 2009
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Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is inviting anglers and others with an interest in the management and protection of smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River to a free public meeting on Saturday, January 31, at the River Rescue Building in Harrisburg.

The official meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and run to approximately 12:30 p.m. Commission staff, including waterways conservation officers, will be on hand from 9 – 10 a.m. and from 12:30 – 2 p.m. to meet and talk with participants before and after the official meeting. Refreshments, light breakfast food and lunch will be available to purchase from the River Rescue cafeteria.

The meeting will include discussions on subjects such as water quality trends; fish population survey; health of the river’s fish, including stressors; the PFBC’s river plan; and aquatic invasive species. A question and answer session will follow the formal presentations. Groups that have been invited to make presentations include the state Department of Environmental Protection, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Smallmouth bass have long been the most prized gamefish in the Susquehanna River and the waterway is widely regarded as one of the top – if not the best – riverine smallmouth fisheries in the nation. Public interest in issues related to smallmouth bass management in the river was heightened in the summer of 2005 when biologists and anglers noted unusual numbers of distressed or dead juvenile smallmouth in various locations throughout the Susquehanna watershed.

The PFBC has determined that the affected fish were suffering from Columnaris disease, an infection related to a common soil and water bacteria Flavobacterium columnare (Columnaris). The disease is considered a secondary infection brought on by environmental or nutritional factors that stress fish, weakening their ability to cope with the bacterial agent.

Specific information about smallmouth bass management on the Susquehanna can be found on the PFBC website at http://www.fish.state.pa.us/pafish/bass_black/meetings/00bass_meetings.htm. The website also contains presentations from a September 2007 meeting with commissioners and a similar public meeting that was held in January 2006.

The River Rescue Building is located at 1119 South Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104.

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

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