Hopes of progress on Bute loch lice infestation

The freshwater louse Argulus foliaceus was first found on a pike landed at Loch Fad at the end of May.
The freshwater louse Argulus foliaceus was first found on a pike landed at Loch Fad at the end of May.

The owner of Loch Fad Fisheries is hoping to put measures in place soon to fight the lice infestation which caused the closure of the loch to anglers in July.

Jimmy Poole told The Buteman the situation at the loch had improved due to falling water temperatures, but that the loch was still closed to anglers.

“The problem may return when water temperatures rise to 10C again,” Mr Poole said, “but in what numbers we do not know.

“With advice from the Scottish Marine Laboratory and the Scottish Government I am trying to put measures in place to combat the problem and stabilise the situation, with a view to re-opening the loch and supporting the island economy.

“However, the loch will remain closed to anglers until further notice to allow monitoring to continue.”

The Argulus foliaceus louse, which does not harm humans but can create wounds fatal to fish, was first found on a pike at Loch Fad at the end of May, and has been detected in varying levels at several fresh water fisheries across Scotland, though not in as large a body of water as Loch Fad.

Mr Poole took the decision in early August to close the loch to anglers in the hope of preventing the problem spreading.

Loch Fad regularly attracts hundreds of visitors a year to Bute, contributing substantially to the island’s economy.