• OHFT Admin

Update on Disease Damaged Fish - An Email from Bryan Davidson, FMS

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

As you know, there are currently concerns about the health status of wild Atlantic salmon in Scotland where captured and observed fish are showing signs of skin damage, including red marks around the fins and belly, inflamed vent and associated fungal infection. A number of fish have been sampled by the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI). The results from the sampling conducted have identified inflammation in muscle and a number of internal organs of one of the fish, but the primary pathogen or cause has not been identified.


The guidance issued by FHI is still current. It is important to note that there is no present requirement for removal of affected fish for disease control purposes. FHI will also continue to target sampling of moribund or lethargic fish which can be maintained alive. Additional sampling may be undertaken of affected fish which have been removed from rivers, dispatched and stored at 4°C, however, I fully appreciate that ongoing provision of samples (live or dead) will depend on the logistics and resources available at the time of reporting.


To ensure compliance with the current conservation regulations, fish must not be removed from those rivers where the taking of fish is prohibited, as there is currently no requirement to remove fish for disease control purposes. In such a river, if a fish is observed which causes concern, the data reporting request (see below) should be followed to provide data that can inform the overall situation, whilst following the legislative requirements for releasing fish. If a number of affected fish are observed in such a river, please immediately notify the Trust (tel 0131 244 3498) email biologist@ohft.org.uk and can arrange for the appropriate permissions to enable sampling to be undertaken, in collaboration with local wild fishery interests.


We have agreed with Marine Scotland and SNH that it would be useful to gather consistent information via Fisheries Management Scotland so that we can build a better picture of the national situation. Your co-operation in providing information would be much appreciated, and I would be grateful if you could provide the following information, supplemented with images wherever possible:

  • Date & numbers of affected fish a) observed b) caught and c) descriptor of condition (supplemented by images wherever possible to show the location, size and severity of visible marks on fish)

  • Type of fish - 1SW or MSW salmon

  • Location (grid reference)


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