Warning as fish virus is spotted at a reservoir in Fleetwood

Koi herpesvirus disease outbreak confirmed in Lancashire
Koi herpesvirus disease outbreak confirmed in Lancashire

An outbreak of a contagious fish disease has been confirmed at a reservoir in Fleetwood popular with anglers.

Fleetwood Reservoir, on Maritime Street, is now subject to statutory controls to prevent or limit the spread of KHV – koi herpesvirus disease.

KHV affects all varieties of common and ornamental carp (Cyprinus carpio) and can result in high rates of fish mortalities

The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) at Cefas, acting on behalf of Defra, has issued a confirmed designation prohibiting the movement of fish to, from and within the fishery complex.

Fishery equipment disinfection and movement control measures are in place and anglers must ensure that they comply with all biosecurity measures within the designated area.

A Fish Health Inspectorate spokesman said: “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.”

Clinical signs of KHV disease may include white or necrotic patches on the gills, rough patches on the skin, sloughing mucous and sunken eyes.

These signs usually appear when water temperatures are between 16 and 28 degrees centigrade.

Anyone noting deaths in carp or carp hybrids, with signs of disease similar to those above, or have suspicion of notifiable disease in any aquatic animal, should immediately contact the FHI.

Anyone who imports, keeps, fishes for, or retails carp (common and ornamental) and carp hybrids should take precautions to prevent the spread of KHV.

The reservoir is owned by Fleetwood-based Halsall Toys (Europe) Ltd, but fishing activities are overseen by the Fleetwood Reservoir Angling Club.

Alan Duggan, chairman of the club, said: “It is a horrible thing to happen.

“We are awaiting a visit by the Environment Agency on Wednesday and will listen to what they say.

“If fishing is allowed to continue this week, it will only be under strict conditions in which any equipment which goes in the water is fully sterilised. If rules are broken by any anglers, they will have to leave.”