Carp from Cork’s landmark Lough test positive for poxvirus

Sample carp taken from Cork’s landmark Lough amenity and from Belvelly Lake near Cobh have all tested positive for carp edema virus (CEV).

Scientists at the Fish Health Unit at the Irish Marine Institute confirmed the presence of the poxvirus yesterday which they said causes koi sleepy disease in both koi and common carp.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) said while further tests are being carried out on the CEV detected, this is being treated as a ‘suspect positive’ and will not be confirmed as the causative agent for the mass carp kill at the Lough, and for the lower number of carp mortalities at Belvelly Lake, until all tests have been completed.

IFI recommended last night that stringent biosecurity protocols continue to be implemented and that the angling suspensions it has introduced in four areas in Cork remain in place.

Following a series of inspections at water course across the city and county, there have been no further reports of similar carp deaths fuelling hopes that the outbreak has been contained.

The Lough, one of the country’s top carp fisheries, is facing virtual wipeout following the deaths of more than 400 of its estimated 600-strong carp stock during the outbreak.

Angling was suspended there last week following the outbreak, and suspended just days later at the private-owned Belvelly carp fishery near Cobh.

The agency moved earlier this week to introduce a temporary suspension of angling on the Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid reservoirs as part of its biosecurity measures, in a bid to prevent possible spread of the illness.

Fish biologist, Bill Brazier, a member of the Cork Carp Anglers Club and founder and editor of angling magazine, Off the Scale, said the Lough faces a long road to recovery.

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