Laboratory challenges using specific-pathogen-free Pacific herring Clupea pallasii from three distinct populations indicated that stock origin had no effect on susceptibility to viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). All of the populations were highly susceptible to the disease upon initial exposure, with significantly greater cumulative mortalities occurring in the exposed treatment groups (56.3-64.3%) than in the unexposed control groups (0.8-9.0%). Interstock differences in cumulative mortality were not significant. The virus loads in the tissues of fish experiencing mortality were 10-10,000 times higher during the acute phase of the epizootics (day 13 postexposure) than during the recovery phase (days 30-42). Survivors of the epizootics were refractory to subsequent VHS, with reexposure of VHS survivors resulting in significantly less cumulative mortality (1.2-4.0%) than among positive controls (38.1-64.4%); interstock differences in susceptibility did not occur after reexposure. These results indicate that data from experiments designed to understand the ecology of VHS virus in a given stock of Pacific herring are broadly applicable to stocks throughout the northeastern Pacific.