Marine Harvest Scotland have confirmed their farmed salmon stock has been hit hard by Amoebic Gill Disease which has led to the regular sight of deceased fish being ferried off the island for incineration.
But the company are hopeful they have turned the corner as the water temperatures begin to drop which they believe should see the fish clear of AGD.
A spokesperson for Marine Harvest Scotland told the Gazette: “We have had some serious issues with Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD) during the summer months which has led to higher fish mortality.
“AGD is becoming more common mainly as a result of climate change leading to warmer water temperatures, often combined with higher salinity.
“Fortunately we’re at the point in the year when we’re beginning to see the sea temperature start to drop and once it falls below 120C that should see us clear of it.
“AGD is relatively new to the Scottish salmon industry, first appearing in 2012, and is now a common challenge for all salmon farmers.”
Concerned readers had contacted the Gazette with claims tons of fish were being ferried away on a weekly basis by the company – something which Marine Harvest have confirmed.
“Our salmon mortalities are being taken off the Western Isles by special tankers to a specialist incineration facility on the mainland, which is necessary because of recent legislation,” they admitted.
“In this process we recognise the hard work and dedication of our staff who are doing their utmost to remove mortality quickly and minimise disruption.”