THE Midlands Environment Agency has issued fisheries, angling clubs and anglers with advice on how to minimise the risk of spreading Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC), following the announcement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that the disease has been detected at the Woodland View Fishery and Woodland View Fish Farm, Hay Lane, Hadley near Droitwich, Worcestershire.
SVC is a contagious viral disease of carp and other coarse fish which has resulted in mortality rates of up to 50% in populations of susceptible fish during previous outbreaks.  There is no treatment for the disease, which may be spread from one fishery to another via movement of live fish, water or contaminated fishing tackle.  It is vital that this disease does not spread to other fisheries.
Following the announcement of SVC being present at Woodland View Fishery and Woodland View Fish Farm, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has placed a Designated Area Order on the fishery, prohibiting the movement of live fish on and off the site.
Anglers can do their bit to stop the spread of the disease to other fish populations.  They should not use coarse fish as livebait or deadbait and nets and boots should be disinfected before and after fishing.  Ideally, keepnets should be left at home. If someone fishes an SVC infected water, they must not leave without disinfecting their nets and equipment and equipment should be thoroughly dried between fishing trips.
In addition, the Agency reminds fishery managers that it is a legal requirement for all introductions or removals of fish (including livebait) at their fisheries have the prior written consent of the Environment Agency.
The Agency also recommends that:
– any fish that are introduced to their waters have a recent valid written health check which  matches the batch of fish they are about to introduce.
– a temporary ban on keepnets is implemented at the discretion of individual fishery managers.
– facilities for disinfection are provided at the entrance to their waters and that anglers thoroughly disinfect their nets and boots before and after fishing.
– stress in resident fish stocks is reduced by avoiding high stock densities, preventing overfishing and ensuring that where keepnets are used they are of adequate size and fish are not retained in them any longer than necessary.
– fishery managers check their waters regularly for signs of disease.  Infected fish may be lethargic and have bleeding gills or skin, abdominal swelling or swollen eyes.  If a manager thinks they may have SVC at their fishery, they should immediately contact CEFAS by telephoning (01305) 206 600.

Fishery managers can also download the booklet “Combating Fish Disease” by visiting the DEFRA web-site at www.defra.gov.uk/fish/fishfarm/index.htm or by emailing CEFAS at fish.health.inspectorate@cefas.co.uk, or www.information@efishbusiness.co.uk. They can also contact the Environment Agency’s Fisheries and Recreation team for advice by telephoning (01543) 444 141.

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