Loughs Agency supports the call of the Atlantic Salmon Trust in asking anglers returning to the river bank, to stay vigilant for fish showing symptoms of Red Skin Disease (RSD).
There are reports of small numbers of fish exhibiting signs of bleeding and/or ulceration being caught in Norway, Ireland and Scotland. At the moment what is causing this trauma is unknown. Therefore it is incredibly important that the fish are screened for pathogens by an appropriate authority, and to do this they must be kept alive until they can be examined. Unfortunately dead fish cannot provide the information needed.
Salmon affected by Red Skin Disease have a characteristic red-spotted rash on their underbelly and may appear lethargic or moribund. The rash can either be localised or extend along some or most the length of the fish. As the disease progresses, skin lesions, signs of bleeding and skin ulcers can develop primarily along the belly area and extend to the head and tail. Secondary fungal infection can further develop which may ultimately result in death of the salmon.
If you do catch one of these fish in the Foyle or Carlingford areas, please do not remove it from the water and handle it as little as possible when removing the hook. Photograph the fish if you can and report the exact location of capture as soon as possible to Loughs Agency. Geographical coordinates for the position of capture from your smart phone would be particularly useful.
Loughs Agency are continuing to liaise with the Fish Health Unit in the Marine Institute, DAERA Fish Health Unit and international colleagues to monitor and respond to the situation. As part of this, where practicable, anglers and fishery owners are asked to report any incidences of salmon with signs of RSD to Loughs Agency to help determine the occurrence of the disease with in Foyle and Carlingford.
It would be advisable, if you do catch and land one of these fish, to follow normal biosecurity protocols and to disinfect your fishing tackle, landing net, waders and fishing jacket.