Koi herpesvirus (KHV) is a fatal disease of carp which has spread rapidly between UK private, public and commercial freshwater fisheries.
Although live fish movements are the main risk for disease spread, a recent study government study has revealed that KHV can be transferred by contaminated angling equipment.
The study carried out a number of different tests to discover what the likelihood was that anglers were contributing to the spread of the disease through landing nets, keep nets, unhooking mats and weigh slings.
The first thing they needed to establish was whether in fact diseased fish were even feeding. Obviously if an infected fish isn’t eating, there would be not much chance of them being caught in the first place. They monitored the feeding habits of newly infected fish and found that although they consumed less they still ate around 40% of their allocated food quota.
Understanding that fish carrying KHV could still be caught, the study then wanted to see if KHV could survive on nets under different conditions. They coated strips of net with KHV infected Carp mucus to see if the disease would survive.
Unfortunately the results came back positive and in nearly all cases, the KHV was still detectable. However on nets that were “dried in the sun” the disease was wiped out. It seems that just having the net dry out naturally didn’t wipe out the disease, but drying it in direct sunlight did.
The final test they carried out was to see if a disease free carp could catch the disease from an infected net. Again, sadly this came back positive, which clearly shows that.
1) Diseased Carp can still be caught
2) That KHV can survive on a landing net or keepnet
3) The disease can be spread from fish to fish via anglers nets.
We’ve all seen what diseases have done to fisheries and species in the past and none of us want to see large scale deaths due to anglers, fisheries and clubs not being geared up to cope with the problem.
We’ll be talking to some experts over the coming months. Positive as the news is that a net dried in the sun would kill the disease, I don’t think any of us want to rely on the British weather to keep our Carp healthy.
We’ll keep you posted
NB: You can read the full details of the study by clicking HERE