SCIENTISTS have determined that a rare disease is threatening fish stock in several Irish lakes.
Marine biologists in Ireland believe a mystery disease which has threatened to wipe out entire fish stocks in several famous Cork lakes is a rare virus deadly to carp.
Scientists at the Fish Health Unit at the Irish Marine Institute have confirmed that several dead carp taken from both The Lough and Belvelly Lake in Cork in recent days have all tested positive for Carp Edema Virus (CEV).
CEV is a poxvirus which causes a disease known as ‘koi sleepy disease’ in both koi and carp.
A total of almost 400 carp have been found dead or dying since last week.
All dead fish are being carefully removed from the two Cork lakes and are being disposed of in a secure manner.
Angling remains suspended at both locations as well as Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid Reservoirs.
The investigation was accelerated after reports that fish were dying in a lake outside Cobh - just days after fish mysteriously started dying in the famous Lough in Cork city.
Fears had mounted that the mystery infection could spread to other valuable waterways.
IFI are liaising with Cork City Council, Cork Co Council and expert marine biologists at University College Cork (UCC) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) in a bid to confirm and contain the infection.
An IFI spokesman said: "While tests are ongoing and further tests are carried out on the CEV detected, this is being treated as a ‘suspect positive’ and is not confirmed as the causative agent of the mortalities until all tests have been completed.”
IFI have now advised that strict bio-security protocols including non-fishing orders and careful equipment contamination be adhered to so as to prevent any further outbreaks.