Asks Minister for Compensation to Fish Farmers in VHS Outbreak

Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust Ltd (FACT) has written
to David Miliband Secretary of State for the Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs

Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust Ltd (FACT) has written to David
Miliband Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
asking that he reconsider the position of fish farmers, subject to
mandatory fish slaughters in the event of disease outbreaks, being
denied compensation for their stock, after the recent discovery of Viral
Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, VHS, in trout stocks in Yorkshire.

There are no measures in place to provide compensation to fish farmers
in the event of compulsory slaughter of diseased fish in UK. This
contrasts with the situation in regard to other animal husbandry
businesses. This is a long-standing problem that has been in contention
for many years and on which government has been immovable.

Control of VHS, as well as other serious diseases such as Gyrodactylus
Salaris, relies on early reporting of suspicion of disease. There are
legal requirements placed on the industry for such reporting and the
defence of UK Fish Health relies on that reporting being carried out in
a responsible manner. However, reliance on this all important early
reporting, without compensation in the event of compulsory slaughter, is
a seriously weak link in UK Fish Health arrangements and a potential
danger to what is a significant part of the UK economy.

FACT advises fishery managers to increase biosecurity measures in the
light of this outbreak and to ensure that dips and washes are replaced
regularly and used efficiently.

Ends

For further information contact;

Michael Heylin
07836 718187

Notes For Editors

1. The Fisheries & Angling Conservation Trust (FACT) is a company,

limited by
guarantee, formed in January 2005 to protect and promote the interests
of angling and recreational fisheries in the UK.

2. FACT encompasses the work undertaken hitherto by the National
Angling
Alliance (NAA) and the Moran Committee. Its subscribing members are:-

. Angling Trades Association (ATA)
. Professional Coarse Fisheries Association (PCFA)
. National Association of Fisheries & Angling Consultatives
(NAFAC)
. National Federation of Anglers (NFA)

. National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA)
. Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA)
. Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA)
. Association of Stillwater Game Fishery Managers (ASGFM)
. Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST)

. Anglers Conservation Association (ACA)

VHS is principally a disease of farmed rainbow trout, but most salmonid
fish are considered susceptible, as are whitefish (Coregonus spp),
grayling and pike.
The
disease has also been reported from farmed turbot, and wild Pacific
herring.
The virus has been isolated from numerous marine fish species, in the
Atlantic
Ocean: Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua), haddock (Gadus aeglefinus), poor cod
(Trisopterus minutus), rockling (Rhinonemus cimbrius), sprat (Clupea
sprattus), herring (Clupea harengus), whiting (Merlangius merlangus),
blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou), lesser argentine (Argentina
sphyraena), Norway pout (Trisopterus esmarki). Diagnostic tests have
suggested the presence of the virus in other marine species, from which
the virus has yet to be isolated.

Outbreaks are typified by a sudden increase in mortality rates. Symptoms
include darkening of the body, swollen eyes (exopthalmia), distended
abdomen and haemorrhaging at the vent and bases of the fins. Fish may
become moribund and congregate around the pond outlets and sides. They
may also show erratic swimming behaviour such as darting, spiralling and
swimming on their sides.
Internal signs include haemorrhaging on the surfaces of the visceral fat
and internal organs and throughout the musculature, with accumulation of
fluid in the abdominal cavity.

There is no treatment for VHS. As a List II notifiable disease there is
a legal obligation to report any suspected outbreaks of VHS to the Fish
Health Inspectorate.

VHS can lead to up to 80% mortality of stocks.