VHS update:second round tests negative Published: 21 July, 2006
THE second round of testing for the VHS virus on fish farms within the Yorkshire Ouse designated area has proved negative.
The National Control Centre, based at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) has advised Defra that further relaxation of movements controls within the affected area will be allowed. Live fish movements, between farms on different rivers within the controlled area will now be considered. Currently only dead and gutted fish are allowed to be moved out of the catchment area.
The Designated Area around the Ouse catchment area is under constant review and, pending the findings of the on-going epidemiological investigation, it may be possible to reduce and redefine the area under restriction.
Defra officials are meeting with their counterparts in the EU Commission, Devolved Administrations, Environment Agency and key stakeholders to consider the scope for reducing the size of the area currently under movement restrictions. A decision will be made once the UK experts are satisfied that the risk of the spread of the disease as a result of any proposed changes in movement controls would be minimal.
Tests are still ongoing on wild fish within the river Nidd and these results should be available at the end of next week.
Retail sale of ornamental fish has remained unrestricted to and from the area.
VHS has no implications for human health.
As of July 21, movements of live fish will be considered upon completion of a movement application form, submitted to the Fish Health Inspectorate in the following circumstances:
1. With the exception of farms in the Nidd, Ouse, Swale and Ure catchments, movements of live fish between farms in the Yorkshire Ouse designated area.
2. Introductions of live fish into farms in the Nidd, Ouse, Swale and Ure catchments, the rivers and river-linked fisheries.
The Fish Health Inspectorate are also able to provide advice on biosecurity requirements, both on farm and for fish transportation purposes.
Appropriate consents are also needed from the Environment Agency, where normally required.