Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Salmon Parasite

I have just received notification through the Fish the Exe scheme secretary that a parasite has been found in Salmon. Here are the details ....

3.9.07

Dear all,

A number of grilse have been caught this year around the UK with swollen, bleeding vents, and several have these have appeared in the Exe in the past fortnight. These swollen vents are caused by Aniskais spp infection. This is a marine parasite almost certainly picked up by salmon from their prey species, especially crustaceans, that they have been feeding on whilst at sea. This is not a new problem, but is particularly prevalent this year.

We understand that the parasite cannot survive in freshwater, and that the affected fish can probably spawn successfully. However, given the high percentage of grilse with the infection this year, and the possible impact on spawning success, it is important this year that we release all healthy grilse caught on the Exe.

In addition, there is a very small chance of the parasite being passed on to humans. The parasite burrows into the flesh of the fish on death - so it would therefore seem prudent to clean all fish that are to be eaten as soon as possible after being killed for consumption. We do not believe that the parasite presents a problem to human health if the fish is well cooked or frozen for several hours. Fish which have been infected with Anisakis spp. can also produce an anaphylactic reaction in people who have become sensitised to Immunoglobulin E (IgE).

Do please pass on this information as widely as possible to fellow fishermen,

With best wishes,

Tom Le Quesne,

Secretary, River Exe and Tributaries Association

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