FISHERMEN across Dorset have been urged to be vigilant, following a number of reports of wild salmon exhibiting red skin disease in the UK.
The disease, which manifests as a rash on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, causes bleeding and sores on the belly and near the mouth of the fish.
This can lead to fungal infection and eventual death.
While there is no evidence that eating contaminated fish can harm humans, if left unchecked, this unusual condition has the ability to impact wild stocks, which are already in decline.
The red skin disease was first reported in rivers flowing into the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic around 2018 and has since been seen in parts of the UK.
The cause of RSD is currently unknown.
Poole Police have posted a wildlife update on their Facebook page asking Dorset fishermen to help by recording any suspected cases they may come across.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We have not reported any deaths associated with ventral hemorrhage in wild salmonids in England, but we have received reports of ‘a small number of fish caught by anglers showing changes consistent with red skin disease.
âOur staff who operate salmon traps as part of our national index monitoring program have also observed a small number of cases.
“We ask fishermen to be vigilant but not to remove or handle fish in distress.
“The same goes for anglers to take carefully pictures of fish with unusual markings if it is possible in complete safety, to practice good biosecurity and to respect our advice on disinfection or to” clean, check, dry ” equipment after fishing and before moving to other waters. ”
To report dead or dying fish, contact the incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.