The Gyrodactylus salaris parasite is less than half a millimetre in size but it can seriously harm or kill salmon. It is widespread in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and has also been found in France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.
Thankfully the parasite has not yet reached the UK but it is possible that even one parasite imported to a previously unaffected river could cause an epidemic in a very short time.
The parasite can survive in wet or damp conditions for five to six days on boats, equipment or clothing. If you are returning with equipment used in rivers in the European countries listed above you can help prevent importing the disease on nets, reels, canoes, wetsuits, clothing and footwear by doing two simple things:
- Thoroughly drying all equipment for at least 48 hours. (Drying in sunlight in temperatures above 200C), OR
- Disinfecting by immersing equipment in seawater or a salt solution (sodium chloride concentration 3% or more) for a minimum of ten minutes.
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