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Beneath the Surface: Minister Reviews ISA

Health Biosecurity Welfare +8 more

SHETLANDS, UK - Scottish environment minister Michael Russell is to set up an independent review into the recent outbreak of a highly infectious disease at a Shetland salmon farm, which he blamed on poor industry practice.

According to the Shetland Marine News, Mr Russell made the announcement during a visit to the islands yesterday (Monday) to look into the outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) earlier this month.

Prior to a meeting with the Shetland salmon industry yesterday, Mr Russell was clear that the industry had to improve its standards of husbandry.

Mr Russell said: “We have a code of good practice and quite frankly if they had followed it to the letter we wouldn’t have this problem. They need to realise their practice must improve.”

He said the ISA problem appeared to have been contained, and if that was the case the next step was to eradicate it. The entire incident would then be thoroughly investigated by a review panel which he intended to appoint shortly, reported Shetland Marine News.

“We will undertake a full independent assessment of the outbreak and how it came about and I hope it will show us some lessons for the future,” he said.

Commenting on reports of high levels of mortality from sea lice in the area, he said: “One of the lessons of ISA is it tends to occur when the fish are weakened following other diseases and by practices which quite frankly don’t conform to best practice.