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Hebrides News


Disease attacks thousands of salmon on fish farm

10 Oct 2017

Tonnes of salmon in a Lewis sealoch are being killed by disease.


Lorries are trucking away loads of dead fish from Marine Harvest’s sites in Loch Erisort for disposal.

Bacteria is attacking thousands of young adult salmon around 6.5lbs in weight which were earmarked for harvesting next year.  


The disease is called pasteurella skyensis - a relatively new strain named after Skye where it was first discovered.


Affected fish stop feeding and can die within weeks.


Antibiotics are used to try and combat the spread of infection and reduce losses.


Steve Bracken, Marin Harvest’s business support manager, said the company has “challenges” in Loch Erisort.


He said: “We do have a problem there and are doing the best we can to overcome the challenges we have.”


He added: “This happens from time to time. We can have good years and bad years - unfortunately this year had not been good for us.”


Mr Bracken said: “Our vet believes it is pasteurella skyensis although we are awaiting final confirmation from the laboratory results.

“We would like to reassure local people that this infection only affects fish and is completely harmless to humans.

“The salmon are responding well to treatment and we are hoping that we are close to resolving the problem.”