The Gs Parasite

Just come back from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain or Sweden?

Ensure your equipment is not carrying the highly contagious Gs parasite which has the ability to wipe out freshwater fish stocks.

What is the Gs parasite?

The Gs (Gyrodactylus salaris) parasite is a highly contagious bug that has devastated freshwater fish stocks in a number of countries. In Norway for example, salmon stocks in 20 rivers have been virtually wiped out.

Less than half a millimetre long, the Gs parasite multiplies very rapidly, and it only takes one to start an epidemic.

The Gs parasite is not currently in the UK. Please help to protect our £60m freshwater salmon industry in Scotland by drying out any wet watersports or fishing gear.

What countries are affected? Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden.

Other European countries have an unknown status. Only the UK remains officially Gs parasite free – let's keep it that way.

Where did the parasite come from?

Gs occurs naturally in the Baltic rivers of Sweden, Finland and Russia. The fish there are tolerant of the parasite, but fish in Norway and the UK are unused to the parasite and have little or no tolerance to it.

The parasite was transferred with farmed fish from Sweden to Norway where it spread to wild salmon stocks.

We now have to ensure that it doesn't reach the UK and harm our £60 million freshwater salmon industry in Scotland.

How could it get here?

The Gs parasite is capable of surviving for several days in damp and/or wet conditions (such as on waders, fishing equipment, bags, canoes and windsurf gear).

Therefore it could be accidentally introduced by anyone (fishermen or watersports enthusiasts) who visit rivers in the affected countries – for work or pleasure – and then uses the same equipment in Scotland without taking the necessary precautionary measures.

The Gs parasite can also survive on other fish species including the eel.

Here's what you need to do

The Gs parasite needs a wet environment to survive. If you are travelling to or from the affected countries make sure any watersports equipment (such as waders, fishing equipment, bags, canoes and windsurf gear) is completely dry before use in Scotland.

To ensure your equipment is not contaminated, please take one of the following precautionary measures:

Dry equipment at a minimum of 20°C for at least 2 days;

Heat for at least 1 hour at above 60°C;

Deep freeze for at least 1 day;

Or Immerse in a Gs killing solution for minimum 10 minutes.

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