Scotland Environment Minister Pledges ISA Probe

Scotland Environment Minister Michael Russell will launch an independent review into the recent outbreak of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) at a Shetland Islands salmon farm.

Blaming the outbreak on poor industry practices, Russell told the Shetland Marine News yesterday that the ISA virus appeared to be contained. Government scientists detected the influenza-like virus, which is harmless to humans, at a site owned by Scottish Seafarms east of Hildasay while investigating high mortalities from sea lice.

"We have a code of good practice and quite frankly if they had followed it to the letter we wouldn"t have this problem," said Russell. "They need to realize their practice must improve.

"One of the lessons of ISA is it tends to occur when the fish are weakened following other diseases and by practices which quite frankly don"t conform to best practice. If that"s the case in this instance then I think that will come out in the independent review, but companies need to take responsibility. They need to make sure future practices are good and if their practices are anywhere less than good they need to improve those rapidly."

The last ISA outbreak in Scotland 10 years ago caused an estimated loss of GBP 100 million. 


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