Down but not out!

Famous big fish venue Cleverley Mere hit by KHV

Koi Herpes Virus, or KHV for short, is a very real threat to every fishery in the UK. Since 2007 the disease has been under statutory control in the UK, with every fishery affected listed on the government’s website. The latest fishery to be diagnosed is Cleverley Mere, in Essex, home of the famous Bottom and Top lakes. The complex has been on the carping scene for many years, and as such this outbreak has really struck a chord with many anglers, particularly the site’s owner Ben Lofting.

We contacted Ben to find out what the current situation is, and he was more than happy to reveal all. He told Carp-Talk: “I am unsure where the outbreak has come from. No fish have been introduced to the site for many years, although I’m informed by CEFAS that KHV can lay dormant in a fishery for a very long time. The deadly virus could therefore have been introduced years ago.

“I lost 11-fish in total from Cleverley Mere (the Bottom Lake) including a couple of my most cherished carp, Cocoa and the Marlin. The three biggest fish in the lake, Hendrix, Chester, and Not Cash, have all come through unscathed which I suppose is a small positive. The Top Lake was unaffected but CEFAS added it to the list because of its close proximity to the Mere. I expect the Top Lake to reopen very soon, but the Mere is a few weeks off yet. I want the fish to spend some time stress-free to recoup.

“As a result of this outbreak I will be supplying nets, mats and slings in the future to ensure that all local fisheries are protected. I also ask that all anglers country-wide do their very best to dry all of their angling equipment fully after each session to try to prevent this from happening to other fisheries. Believe me, what has happened at Cleverley is truly devastating.”

KHV is easily prevented and every angler can do their bit to stop it from spreading. The main way they can do this is by having an awareness of how the virus can be transferred by infected nets, mats or slings. After visiting any fishery, no matter if it has been classified or not, anglers should always dry their gear thoroughly. Studies have proven that KHV cells are killed by direct sunlight, so before leaving a fishery be sure to dry your landing net, unhooking mat and sling fully. If they need further drying, place them in the garden at home. It is not worth the risk.

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