Russell announces review of salmon disease outbreak

Scottish environment minister Mike Russell announced this week there is to be an independent review into the recent ISA outbreak in Shetland.

Speaking after a meeting with representatives of the fish farming industry, Mr Russell said the appearance of the infectious salmon anaemia disease “should be a sort of wake up call”.

Mr Russell said: “I think it’s important we learn lessons from this. I intend there will be an independent review of the outbreak once it’s over, but the objectives are very clear. Firstly it’s got to be contained … secondly, it’s got to be eradicated.”

Work is still being done, he said, to find out where the disease came from. However it is believed to have been confined to one site off Hildasay.

The minister also said fishing practices would need to be reviewed: “ISA is an opportunistic disease that often comes where there are other stresses on the fish. In that instance there are other issues here that companies need to address. They are devising a new management plan for the area and I’ll be talking to them about that.”

The issue of compensation for farmers who have been affected is, he said, something that will have to be addressed once the disease has been dealt with.

Mr Russell said: “That becomes a secondary issue; we have officials working on the financial issues, let’s get [the disease] contained [and] out of the way, then we can sit down and talk about money.”


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