Unidentified fish disease sweeps Sumatra

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An unidentified disease has killed millions of fish on the island of Sumatra, according to reports from the Jakarta Post.

The Simalungun Regency Administration in North Sumatra banned the consumption of fish from Lake Toba last week, after the disease killed millions of carp which were being farmed in the lake. The report also claims that gouramies have been affected.

Experts are speculating that the widescale fish kill may be linked to an as yet unidentified herpes virus.

The Jakarta Post says that Lake Toba is widely used for fish farming. Locals there use special holding cages called karamba in which they culture up to 4000-5000 individual fish.

The report says that around 76 tons of dead fish have already been removed from the lake. However, a separate item from News24.com says that losses have now risen, and 5000 fish farmers working on the Lake have now lost an estimated 850 tonnes of fish to the disease.

According to the latest news from the region, the virus has now spread to the neighbouring Lake Maninjau in the Agam district, where it has also killed several million fish.

The infected fish have dark gills, suffer from dropsy and shed mucus from their skin. The government has advised farmers to separate infected fish from healthy ones to minimise the further spread of the disease.