Derry anglers urged to be vigilant for new salmon disease in Foyle system

A salmon with symptoms of Red Skin Disease.A salmon with symptoms of Red Skin Disease.
A salmon with symptoms of Red Skin Disease.
A new disease afflicting Atlantic Salmon has been reported for the second successive year.

The Loughs Agency has asked anglers returning to the river banks in Derry to stay vigilant for fish showing symptoms of Red Skin Disease (RSD).

They are asked to follow normal biosecurity protocols and disinfect their tackle, nets, waders and jackets if they catch one of these bleeding, ulcerated fish in rivers of the Foyle system.

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In a statement the Loughs Agency warned: “There are reports of small numbers of fish exhibiting signs of bleeding and/or ulceration being caught in Norway, Ireland and Scotland.

“At the moment what is causing this trauma is unknown. Therefore it is incredibly important that the fish are screened for pathogens by an appropriate authority, and to do this they must be kept alive until they can be examined. Unfortunately dead fish cannot provide the information needed.”

The agency said salmon affected by RSD have a characteristic red-spotted rash on their underbelly and may appear lethargic or moribund.

The rash can either be localised or extend along some or most the length of the fish.

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“As the disease progresses, skin lesions, signs of bleeding and skin ulcers can develop primarily along the belly area and extend to the head and tail. Secondary fungal infection can further develop which may ultimately result in death of the salmon,” the agency said.

The North/South body urged anglers who catch one of these fish in the Foyle or Carlingford areas not to remove it from the water and handle it as little as possible when removing the hook.

They are asked to photograph the fish and report the exact location of capture as soon as possible to the Loughs Agency.

“It would be advisable, if you do catch and land one of these fish, to follow normal biosecurity protocols and to disinfect your fishing tackle, landing net, waders and fishing jacket,” the agency said.