Marine Harvest confirmed that the outbreak was “quite serious”.
“The mortality is in the region of 500 tonnes,” Marine Harvest’s business support manager Steve Bracken said according to BBC. “The fish are around about 4 kilos so it is about 125,000 fish we have lost during this period.
It was earlier this month that large numbers of fish were being collected from a sea loch on the Isle of Lewis after suffering bacterial infection. Now the numbers have been confirmed.
Bracken said the situation was “extremely unfortunate”, but added that the pathogen responds to treatment.
“We use antibiotics to control the infection and it has taken time but we are seeing that the medication is working.”
Marine Harvest said they hoped a vaccine can be developed, but they were focusing right now to stop the infection getting into other sites.
One theory behind the outbreak is that climate change and rising ocean temperatures could be making the fish farms more vulnerable to bacterial infections.
“We don’t know why it has come at this time. It is very hard to say, but we are seeing changes in the environment, there is no doubt about it,” Bracken said.
The company has apologized to the local community.