Call to act over salmon parasite

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
5 December 2006, at 12:00am

UK - Tougher measures to protect Scottish salmon from a devastating parasite have been called for by MSPs.

Holyrood's environment committee wants to see tighter port controls and a campaign to raise public awareness of the Gyrodactylus salaris (GS) parasite. It has never reached the UK but has previously wiped out stocks in Norwegian rivers.

GS could be brought into the country by fish from infected areas, or even from the waders or rods of fishermen. Gyrodactylosis, caused by the GS parasite, is a serious fish disease that infects the skin, gills and fins of salmon, trout and some other species of freshwater fish.

Barely visible to the naked eye, the parasite can nonetheless cause serious damage to some UK strains of Atlantic salmon. However, it has no impact on human health. If the GS parasite were to be introduced into UK waters, entire river systems could quickly become infected, resulting in the decimation of valuable freshwater stocks of salmon, both in the wild and in aquaculture.

Source: BBC