IRISH anglers are demanding answers after a second outbreak of Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis, known as ‘mad fish disease’ has been detected in Northern Ireland.
The Ulster Angling Federation, which represents some 11,000 anglers, has warned the killer virus could have disastrous consequences for wild salmon stocks.
The federation says the Department of Agriculture could have done more to prevent the outbreak – the second in two months – from taking place.
In an earlier incident, believed to have been caused by infection in a consignment of fish from
, 15,000 rainbow trout were wiped out on a Co Antrim fish farm. The IPN virus was also detected today (April 24th) on a fish farm off the Antrim coast.
Northern Ireland had been free of the disease, which is characterised by fish adopting a ‘whirling behaviour’, since the mid 1960s. It is however said to be endemic in the UK. Newell McCreight, Development Officer with the Ulster Angling Federation said: “This could have serious consequences for wild salmon stocks coming into Northern Ireland
rivers. Those stocks have been in decline and we would not want them to be further affected.
“Around £5m has been spent in recent years on salmon enhancement projects in the province. We think the Department of Agriculture could have done more to prevent these outbreaks,” he added.