By JOHN ROBERTSON
No more salmon farms had been placed under infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) restrictions as we went to press yesterday although the results of tests on fish taken from sites off the south-west Mainland last week had still not come through.
The lack of fresh dramatic news for the industry will be a relief after the shock of ISA being confirmed at Scottish Sea Farms’ site off Hildasay on 2nd January and the suspicion of the virus at two of the company’s other sites nearby. Sea Farms and the other big operator in the area, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland, have been frantically harvesting salmon again this week to clear sites in case tests show the infection has spread through the farms.
A team of workers was drafted in from Oban at the weekend to help Sea Farms extend its large-scale harvesting, killing and processing operation which has seen a procession of lorries running to and from its factory on Scalloway’s Blacksness Pier.
Yesterday salmon farmers and government scientists and officials met in Scalloway to hear an update on the situation and the action being taken to try to nip the disease in the bud.
Robert Nicolson of Skelda Salmon, who has a site in the ISA control zone, said no new developments had been reported at the meeting but he had found it very useful to get information and talk over the issues. He had got government clearance to harvest fish today after being prevented last week due to restrictions but he said the operation had to be postponed again due to the fierce gale.
Inspection of all 12 sites containing fish was completed on Friday. Once emptied of fish, all sites will have to be fallowed. The Hildasay site must remain empty for six months. The length of time the two suspect sites are left will only be decided once the results of last week’s fish tests are known.
Mr Nicolson said the different companies were cooperating with each other and offering to help out where they could.