Written Answers - Salmon Disease.

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

144 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the serious outbreaks of infectious salmon anaemia which have occurred recently in Scotland on a significant number of sites; his views on whether the infectious salmon anaemia disease might be transferred to Irish salmon farms; if he has met with his Scottish counterpart to discuss preventive actions which might be taken; the proposals, if any, he has to protect Irish farmed stock from being wiped out by this disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2760/99]

An outbreak of the viral disease ISA occurred in Scotland in spring 1998. We have been assured by the Scottish Office that EU regulations on the placing on the market of aquaculture animals in the event of an outbreak of this kind are being enforced and every effort made to prevent the spread of ISA from affected areas. There is, however, no room for complacency and we are working with the Irish salmon industry to ensure against any spread of ISA to Ireland.

Officials of the Department, BIM and the Irish salmon industry also visited Scotland in autumn 1998 to learn at first hand from Scottish officials and the industry the details of the outbreak in Scotland and to confirm the specific measures taken in Scotland to combat and prevent the spread of ISA.

The IFA fish farming section has developed a code of practice in co-operation with BIM and the Department for the sector as well as for fishermen, vets and fish processors. The processing sector has also been fully alerted to the risk posed by ISA. The code of practice details specific precautionary measures to be observed by the indus try aimed at preventing the importation of ISA to this country.
The outbreak of ISA in Scotland is also being monitored and assessed at EU level by a committee of EU Government experts. My Department is represented on that committee which is also considering further actions to prevent or deal with ISA outbreaks within the EU.
My Department, BIM and the Irish salmon industry are maintaining close contact with Scottish officials and the Scottish industry to ensure full exchange of information on developments there. The situation is being kept under close review and the need for additional preventive measures will continue to be assessed on an ongoing basis.