Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has recently received reports that small numbers of individual fresh-run wild salmon have been encountered in the River Deel, in the Moy Catchment, Co. Mayo and in the River Boyne displaying signs of red skin disease (RSD). Low incidences of this disease were first documented in 2019 in several European salmon stocks. In Ireland last year suspected incidences of RSD were reported in 113 salmon from 12 rivers throughout the country.  The majority of these reports were in June and July with only occasional incidences reported prior to and after this time.

A salmon from the River Corrib showing early signs of the disease in 2019

Salmon affected by RSD have a characteristic red-spotted rash on their underbelly and may appear lethargic or moribund.  The rash can either be localised or extend along some or most the length of the fish.  As the disease progresses, skin lesions, signs of bleeding and skins ulcers can develop primarily along the belly area and extend to the head and tail.  Secondary fungal infection can further develop which may ultimately result in death of the salmon. IFI staff are continuing to liaise with the Fish Health Unit in the Marine Institute and international colleagues to monitor and respond to the situation.

Anglers and fishery owners are asked to report any incidences of salmon with signs of RSD to IFI to help determine the occurrence of the disease nationally.  Anglers who capture such salmon are advised to follow normal biosecurity procedures and disinfect tackle, waders and equipment.  Until the cause of the disease has been determined and the risk of spreading the disease established, affected salmon should not be removed from the water.

A salmon from the River Boyne showing signs of red skin disease in 2019

IFI is appealing to anglers to forward any reports of salmon with signs of RSD along with photographs and an estimate of fish weight to [email protected] or notify us by calling IFI’s 24-hour confidential hotline number on 0818 34 74 24 or 0818 FISH 24.