Test results from two fish farms that may have been affected by infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) are expected today, Shetland Aquaculture general manager David Sandison said as The Shetland Times went to press.
The two farms in the West Side, one in the control area and the other in the wider surveillance area, are the only sites on which results are required before Shetland is given the all clear from the disease.
Meanwhile Scottish environment minister Mike Russell, in Shetland for a meeting with industry representatives, announced that there would be an independent review of the outbreak. 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.”
The minster also praised the efforts of those working to find out where the disease came from: “I pay tribute to the work that’s being done by the companies and by the council and our own officials. It’s very important.”
The incident is a sign that fishing practices need to be reviewed, Mr Russell said: “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 today.”
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.”