Parasite kills hundreds of tonnes of fish across the Western Isles

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THE spread of disease in fish farms across the Western Isles has resulted in hundreds of tonnes of salmon being killed, fishermen have warned.

A parasite that causes fish to choke to death is devastating stocks of farmed salmon.

Warmer and saltier waters are being blamed for the outbreak.

It is estimated that some fish farms are losing 20 per cent of their stock.

Creel fisherman Angus Campbell said: “Last week we saw a load of 26 tonnes heading down to Uist to get buried.

“It’s just incredible the amount of dead fish coming out of these sites.”

The parasite only appeared in Scotland last year, but has colonised farms from Shetland to Argyll.

Critics say the expansion of fish farms, and overcrowding of salmon, has encouraged the disease to flourish.