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Sakhalin salmon population infested with lice

A major population of salmon in Pacific waters off Russia's Far Eastern region is suffering from a severe infestation of lice, officials at a maritime research institute said on Monday.

As much as 70 per cent of schools of pink (or humpback) salmon living to the north-east of Russia's Sakhalin Island suffer skin lesions from Lepeophtheirus salmonis, a parasite more commonly known as the salmon louse, said a statement from the Sakhalin Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography.

Salmon catches to the south and north of the island have shown less infestation but the louse is nonetheless present in fish populations off Sakhalin's west coast and northwards toward's Russia's Kamchatka peninsula, the statement said.

Salmon lice infestation in Russia's Pacific Ocean fish populations is typically from 10 to 25 per cent of fish caught. The region's last major spike in lice infestation was in 1990.

Unseasonably warm ocean waters and record high salmon populations are probably the cause of this year's high infestation, having given the lice good growing conditions and dense fish schools with easy-to-reach hosts, the report said.

Salmon lice are not harmful for human consumption but darkened spots along a fish's spine and tail could make lice-infested pink salmon less desirable to consumers, the report said.

Russia's government on Thursday announced record catches of Pacific Ocean salmon this year, having landed 250,000 tons during the main summer season. The previous record had been set in 1928.

One Response to “Sakhalin salmon population infested with lice”

  1. travel on a budget Says:

    Great news

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