Hello folks. This is going to be a long one.
As you all know, the fishery has been closed since 29th June due to some fish deaths that we initially thought were down to low oxygen levels and a heavy algae bloom in the water.
Over the weekend I went looking for more information and found an advisory leaflet from DEFRA about Koi Herpes Virus (KHV). Within that leaflet it is clear that the fishery had a duty to report it to DEFRA.
KHV has no implications for human health. It is nonetheless, a serious viral disease of fish, and is notifiable in the United Kingdom. KHV affects all varieties of common and ornamental carp (Cyprinus carpio) and can result in high rates of fish mortalities.
How did we get it? Well it could have been one of several ways:
brought in on introduced fish,
brought in in slime adhering to landing nets or unhooking mats recently used at an infected fishery
brought in on a wet duck that might have been in contact with a diseased fish elsewhere.
or it could have been lying dormant in the fish population
Why does KHV happen? Like lots of herpes viruses they only show out when the sufferer is stressed. Those of you that suffer cold sores will know that they only come on when you are run down. Well, same with KHV and the fish. This outbreak was triggered due to the current hot weather, low oxygen, high algae and parasite conditions that we are enjoying. All of these things stress the fish and lead to them being more susceptible should the disease be about.
On the 4th July the inspector called and we examined the fish both dead and alive together. It was clear to see that we have something going on and many of the symptoms listed in the advice were evident.
Notwithstanding, we still had to go through the process and the sampling. On the 13th July we received notification that our suspicions were correct.
So what happens now? Well, we have been keeping a log of fish death for the Ministry over the past days. So far we have lost 120 fish. We have to have Ministry permission to reopen the fishery, and that must come after a site visit.
Once we go back into operation we have to practice BIOSECURITY and ensure that the disease cannot and does not leave the fishery. There will be a period of monitoring, one year, and visits may be made unannounced during this time to check that we are doing what we say we are going to do.
When I say WE I mean us at the fishery and everyone that comes to the fishery to enjoy it. We need to work together to make sure that this disease does not leave our fishery to infect somewhere else.
What we are going to do is provide landing nets and unhooking mats to be used on the fishery and left behind when you go. These will be colour coded for easy identification by the bailiffs and or the Ministry inspectors and every angler WILL use them.
Please do not bring your own nets to the fishery, and if you do (because they are in your bag anyway), please do not use them when you are here. If you do use your own net then it has to remain on the fishery otherwise you commit an offence under the regulations. And guess what? I will be standing right alongside you in court as I will be guilty too, which will not please me very much!
If our BIOSECURITY measures are not being followed, and it is noted at several unannounced visits; then the Ministry has the power to close us down. Very rarely used, but if we cannot be trusted to manage the outbreak ourselves then we will be shut down.
So work with us please.
USE OUR NETS AND ONLY OUR NETS.
LEAVE THEM BEHIND WHEN YOU GO.
ADVISE AND GUIDE YOUR FELLOW ANGLERS IF YOU SEE THEM BREAKING THE RULES.
PLEASE REPORT ANY CONCERNS FOR FISH HEALTH TO US ASAP.
We had a visit from the Ministry again on the 25th July 2018 and they are pleased that our outbreak has run its course as we have had no significant fish deaths since the 10th July.
Notwithstanding; their advice is to remain closed for now, particularly with the weather remaining hot and dry, as reopening too soon could re stress the fish and cause it to flare up again.
We do not know as yet when we will reopen but do keep an eye on the website and our facebook page where we will announce when we are able to reopen.