“Malicious rumours” are taking their toll on a family business.
Trevor Passmore, who runs Passies Pond fishing lake, was amazed not to have been fully booked during the weekend’s sunny weather – until he learnt of a email doing the rounds, saying his fish had a deadly disease.
It was only when a large booking called to cancel, and said they had been told of a koi herpesvirus (KHV) outbreak, the email came to light.
“It is absolutely not true,” Trevor told the Herald, describing the email as a “malicious rumour”.
“About three years ago, we had an outbreak. It is a notifiable disease and it’s not very nice, but we shut down, and did everything right.”
Since then the lake, at Church Farm, Coombes, has been under the observation of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), which performs regular tests for the disease, the last being about a month ago.
“On Sunday, it was dead,” said Trevor. “We had about 15 people. At this time of year we would expect 70 or 80.
“We have taken a drop this year anyway, because of the wet weather and the Olympics,”
He went on to say he had no idea who was sending the emails, or why, or how long they had been doing it.
“I have no idea why anyone would do this. Financially, it’s a huge burden.
“The weather is beyond our control, and we always know there will be a drop when there are big sports events, but to come through all that, and for someone to do this, it hurts,” he said.
The email stated there had been a confirmed case of KHV at Passies Pond.
It went on: “DEFRA have been notified. This virus is potentially transmittable to all cyprinid fish (any member of the carp family).
“We don’t currently know whether this is on the pleasure lakes or on the match lake.”
It also advises anglers to disinfect their fishing tackle.
A spokeswoman for Cefas confirmed Passies Pond was under observation, but added: “At this point, there is nothing to cause us to begin control measures.” Confirmed outbreaks are listed at www.defra.gov.uk/aahm/disease/