Salmon fishermen warned of deadly catch – Fishupdate.com

Salmon fishermen warned of deadly catch Published:  28 January, 2008

A PARASITE that is dangerous to people is being found increasingly in wild salmon from rivers and estuaries.

Eating a live worm on the fish can cause severe symptoms, including erratic heartbeat, unconsciousness, breathing difficulties and respiratory failure, possibly leading to death. Pregnant women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable, The Times reported.

The fish posing the greatest risk are likely to be those caught by anglers and netsmen who like to eat their own catch or sell it to local restaurants, shops or friends. The Food Standards Agency has issued a specific alert for fishermen to be aware of the dangers.

There is no evidence of the condition in wild trout or farmed salmon or trout.

Wild salmon sold commercially is governed by strict hygiene and food-safety laws and is unlikely to pose a threat to human health. Most wild salmon on sale in supermarkets is from Alaskan waters. In advice to anglers the agency says that all fresh wild salmon must be either frozen or heated at 70C for at least two minutes to kill the parasite and its larvae.

In some cases, however, even after cooking there can still be a health risk and the parasite may cause severe anaphylactic reactions in some people.

Scientists at the Environment Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) are now urgently investigating the increase in the number of cases of wild salmon found with swollen and bleeding vents. Male and female fish are affected. The parasite, known as Anisakis simplex, has been known about for some years. Salmon ingest it when they are feeding at sea and then carry the parasite to fresh water.

Last year fishermen reported record numbers of affected salmon on some of the most popular salmon-fishing rivers.

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