IN the second incident of its kind this year, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Environment Agency have confirmed the presence of Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC) in a batch of fish.
Now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued an order preventing the movement of fish to or from the site at Staunton Court Fishery, Gloucestershire. The previous case this year was also in the Agency’s
Midlands
region.
Nigel Hewlett, Senior Scientist at the Agency’s National Fisheries Laboratory said: “We’re very concerned about the threat posed to carp fisheries by this potentially devastating disease. SVC can decimate carp populations in a very short space of time. It is important that fishery owners and anglers act responsibly to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The National Fisheries Laboratory has been contacted by a number of fishery owners in the
Midlands
who are very worried about SVC reaching their sites.
“We are giving them advice on how to protect their fisheries, but we also need anglers to be aware of the risks of transferring the virus and the damage it can cause to a fishery.
“Outbreaks of the disease can devastate carp fisheries. Past cases have killed up to 80 per cent of carp populations in some waters. This has a huge impact, both in terms of the quality of fishing and to the business of many fishery owners.
“An outbreak of SVC in 1988 affected 37 fisheries costing businesses millions in terms of lost fish and lost revenue.”
A virus that mainly targets carp and their variants causes the disease. But it can also infect roach, tench, rudd, goldfish, pike and
wels
catfish.
It is primarily spread by the introduction of infected fish but it is also possible that anglers could carry the virus on wet nets or their boots.
Nigel Hewlett added: “There is no reason why anglers should not fish affected waters, but they should ensure that they follow on-site rules and respect the rules on disinfecting nets placed by other fisheries.
Anglers can help to control the spread of the virus by ensuring that all nets and other tackle are thoroughly dried, ideally in bright sunlight, before fishing another water.”
Infected fisheries are subject to Designated Area Orders, placed on them by Defra. Under these orders they are prevented from moving any fish on or off site. They are usually in place for a minimum of three years.
Fishery owners should always report fish mortalities on their waters. As well as investigating possible disease, Agency officers can provide advice on preventing problems in the future.
Anyone finding dead, dying or distressed fish in their waters should contact the Agency immediately. The emergency hotline is 0800 80 70 60.

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