Infection wipes out 500 tonnes of fish
MARINE Harvest has confirmed that the outbreak of a bacterial infection at one of its Lewis farms has resulted in the loss of 500 tonnes of fish.
Some 125,000 salmon of around 4kg each have died so far, with lorries carrying the carcasses from the island.
Steve Bracken, the company’s business support manager, said: ‘The health issues we have had at Loch Erisort since the end of August are the result of a bacterial infection called Pasteurella skyensis which only affects fish and is completely harmless to humans.
‘Strains of the Pasteurella bacteria are present in many species of fish and outbreaks of infection occur from time to time.
‘In the salmon farming industry we are experiencing ongoing changes in the sea conditions, due to factors such as climate change and global warming, which mean we have to monitor our fish even more carefully and be ready to respond accordingly.
‘The salmon are responding well to treatment from our team of vets and we hope that we are close to resolving the problem. So far, 500 tonnes or approximately 125,000 fish have died.’ He said the fish are being treated with antibiotics, which now seem to be working, and the farm is ‘through the worst of it’.