Thursday, June 29, 2006

BKKS 2006 National Koi Show

Here are some of my photos from the British Koi Keepers Society national koi show in Newark. Some of my photography isn't great, what with a camera phone but you get the idea. What's hard to appreciate from a picture is the impressive size of the jumbo koi in size 7 class.

Here is a link to my Koi carp photos

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) Outbreak

On there's news of an outbreak of Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) in three separate fisheries in southern England. This highly contagious disease is being investigated by the Environment Agency and CEFAS (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science). These are the first mortalities recorded this year, and could have something do with the hot spells we've had recently. The disease is spread from fish to fish but can go unnoticed until water temperatures increase, deaths occurring between 18-27C. Whilst the outbreak is contained the implications for koi keepers is to only buy koi from trusted sources. If your koi pond has never reached 18C ,which is possible in some places, your koi could be carriers without you ever knowing. This places responsibility on all koi keepers to avoid spreading the disease however likely this may be. Fishupdate goes on to say ;

Pending the possible control of the disease under new measures in the final stages of negotiation in the EU, those in the industry responsible for importing fish species susceptible to KHV should make every effort to identify healthy, disease free sources of stock.

Without regulations as yet to report the disease, the responsibility is placed on breeders, importers and koi dealers to eliminate the disease and inform the public. Many good koi dealers do isolate new fish and through quarantine periods try to kill off the virus and bring out any symtoms in case they are carriers, by a process of heating and lowering water temperatures. This does work but there is no known cure yet for KHV and so regular testing is needed .Without scaring everyone, once your fish are infected it can kill over 50% of your koi and the ones that survive become potential carriers. Like bird flu the chances are small but why take chances with your beloved koi. Always buy from a reputable koi dealer, who knows where the koi have come from and proves the quarantine procedures. It should go without saying that you always quarantine any new koi at home as well before introducing them to your pond.

What is needed is a reliable form of testing to identify and prove disease free koi and better informed koi keepers. The AKCA the Associated Koi Clubs Of America have a new website investigating KHV called Project KHV and all donations go to KHV research.

Monday, June 26, 2006

BKKS Koi Show 2006

This weekend I visited the British Koi Keepers Society national show. This was their 31st annual koi show now, something I hadn't attended for over fifteen years. The weather was fantastic and driving up to the Newark showground meant I was going to miss England play Ecuador in the World Cup....This better be worth it I thought.

I hadn't consciously avoided koi shows for any particular reason , like some who feel that its elitist or not in the best interests for their koi , just that it didn't really seem to apply to my hobby. Appreciating my own koi and the work put into my own pond. But every serious koi keeper likes to know what others are doing and how their koi might fair. A koi show provides the perfect opportunity to become like a nosey gardener looking over the fence comparing results.

Having taken a wrong turning that took me to a fishing tackle show (I thought this was fish keeping not fish catching....can you combine the hobbies?) I eventually arrived at eleven and it was already obviously busy as a short queue at the gate had started to form. I made my way straight to the koi to get some photos before it got too crowded. The show was laid out in the now customary way with the koi on show in the centre in their blue vats with suppliers marquees surrounding the arena. This seems very sensible, allowing maintenance and judging in the centre with people allowed to freely flow around the outside, something you don't always see in japanese koi shows. The koi had been judged and their places displayed on their boards helped most to distinguish the best from the also rans.

Without going into every detail of the day I have to say I was simply blown away. Not only by the overall quality of the koi , which has improved over the years, but also the care and professionalism in the way the show was run. Every step was taken to ensure the koi's health and welfare. I saw regular water chemistry testing and water changes performed. Cross contamination between vats, fish and people was avoided by keeping to strict procedures. This was reassuring for owners that they wouldn't be taking anything else back home with their koi. The presence of stands offering products and services on bio-security tells you this is something that all serious koi keepers need to know about in this day and age. The BKKS have a dedicated Health Standards Committee (HSC) whose very presence at the show I am sure, would convince anyone doubting whether to show their koi to give it a go.

While many things have changed, it was nice to see that the British Koi Keepers Society is still a very friendly club with down to earth members. They have true enthusiasm for their hobby and this shows newcomers that its not all about winning trophies. The true awards are the koi themselves. This proved to be great event and showcased some of the best koi together in Britain, if not the world. Congratulations to all the winners and the BKKS. It was a great advert for koi and the club. I like many who attended shall be joining and who knows maybe next year entering my first show ?

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