In September, sharp-eyed anglers fishing on Grafham Water, Rutland, found a new species of shrimp. This was identified by the EA as Dikerogammarus villosus, now known as “the killer shrimp”. This invasive and aggressive species from Eastern Europe kills a range of native species, including young fish, and significantly alters ecosystems.
It has now spread to two sites in Wales (at British Steel’s Margam reservoir near Port Talbot and also in Cardiff Bay) and there is huge concern from anglers and conservationists, as it has the capacity to devastate fish and invertebrates throughout the entire country’s rivers, lakes, reservoirs and canals if not vigorously contained and destroyed.
The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) and the Angling Trust (AT), along with other bodies, are issuing a “high alert” to all anglers and anyone else coming into contact with waterbodies. The organisations recommend that all water users follow these simple safety procedures:
• Always be on the alert and familiarise yourself with the shrimp’s appearance
(see Environment Agency (EA) website).
• Report any unusual-looking shrimps to the EA straight away
• Remember that this shrimp has the ability to spread very quickly, so –
• Clean and dry tackle thoroughly before each fishing trip
• Raise awareness among other users of lakes and watercourses to alert them to the danger.
Email address for alerts:
S&TA CEO, Paul Knight declares: “Vigilance and care must be every angler’s bywords to help stamp out this dangerous predator. The speed of spread is frightening, and we must do everything possible to contain it. Please just take an extra minute or two to make sure you are not inadvertently transporting shrimps from one water to another, and always be on the lookout for shrimps you don’t recognise. It was anglers, after all, who first alerted the country to this invasion.”
Angling Trust CEO, Mark Lloyd said: “The future of the £3.5 billion angling industry is at stake, along with the beloved pastime of millions of anglers and the country’s aquatic biodiversity. We must all take rigorous steps to ensure that this pest is not allowed to spread any further and wreak havoc on the nation’s water environment. This little shrimp has the potential to do far more damage to fisheries than signal crayfish and other invasive species.”