Anglers across Dorset have been urged to be vigilant after a number of reports of wild salmon with red skin disease were reported in the UK.
The disease, which manifests itself as a rash in wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, causes bleeding and ulcers on the lower abdomen and near the fish’s mouth.
This can lead to a yeast infection and eventual death.
While there is no evidence that eating a contaminated fish can harm humans, if not controlled, the unusual condition can affect wildlife stocks, which are already declining.
Red skin disease was first reported in rivers flowing into the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic around 2018 and has been observed in parts of the UK since then.
The cause of RSD is currently unknown.
Poole Police posted a wildlife update on their Facebook page asking Dorset anglers to help record any suspected cases they encounter.
Meanwhile, an Environment Agency spokesman said: â€œWe have not had any reported cases of ventral bleeding related deaths in wild salmonids in England, but we have received reports of small numbers of fish caught by anglers and changes related to it of red skin disease showed.
â€œOur employees who operate salmon traps as part of our national index monitoring program have also observed a small number of cases.
“We ask anglers to be vigilant but not to remove or handle fish in distress.
“Also, anglers should carefully take photos of fish that have unusual markings if it is safe to do so, to practice good biosecurity and to adhere to our disinfection guidelines or to clean, inspect, and maintain equipment after fishing and before moving on dry waters. ”
To report dead or dying fish, call the incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.