Invasive Non-Native Species
Our rivers, canals, lakes and ponds are under attack. Plants and animals from other countries are finding their way into our waterways after being imported for ornamental or agricultural use. Many species wither and die in the wild. Others survive, but don't spread rapidly. A few spread like wildfire, as they don't have the natural controls of diseases, predators and grazers to keep them in check. They can therefore do massive damage to our water environment and to our fishing.
These are known as Invasive Non-Native Species. The Angling Trust has compiled a comprehensive guide to the identification, control and where possible eradication of these aliens. We're campaigning at a national level to encourage the Government to take action on alien species.We are also working with organisations like the Rivers Trusts and the Riverfly Partnership's Angling Monitoring Initiative groups to set up procedures to control & eradicate these species that threaten the objectives of the Water Framework Directive.
Click on the links below for a mine of information about the top 17 aquatic alien species.
Anglers are increasingly concerned with the threats to our rivers, waterways and still waters from invasive non-native species. Our estimates suggest that anglers spend in the region of 100,000 man hours each year trying to tackle alien weeds and creatures, which have a major impact on our fishing. This is why we launched our Alien Attack project this year, as a partnership project with the Environment Agency.
Details of what can be done to control and eliminate these pests and how to identify them are available through a number of web sites and printed material. With the technical and financial assistance of the Environment Agency and the GB Non Native Species Secretariat we have amalgamated this information to provide a one stop site to help our members and others to take effective action. 17 species are identified in the table on the left, including the new "Killer Shrimp", but there are no known total eradication techniques for some species like signal crayfish at present.
The first issue of the Non-native Species Secretariat Newsletter, with articles on some of the most significant developments of the past few months is available HERE.
How YOU can help
Please download the information sheets on this page if you think you might have invasive non native species on waters which you own, lease or fish and have a look through the files in the table on the left to acquaint yourself with the potential invaders.
Anglers are already expending considerable effort in trying to tackle this threat to our fishing but we recognise that to be more effective this needs to be co-ordinated on a catchment basis. The Angling Trust is therefore working with the Rivers Trusts to achieve this. A pilot project set up by South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT) is working on a catchment bio-security plan to co-ordinate action to identify and eradicate threats within that catchment. SCRT have also set up a website with information in order to prevent the spread of Killer Shrimp into Cumbrian waters - see www.scrt.co.uk/species-alerts/species-alerts We are working with the SCRT through our North West Regional Forum to report data to the Trust and to encourage angling volunteers to get involved in the eradication plans. We are working with the Association of Rivers Trusts to expand this way of working to cover the whole country.
By all working together we can make a significant impact on these threats to our fishing.
How did alien species get here in the first place?
A number have been with us for many years originating from Victorian times like Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed. They escaped from gardens and now dominate a large number of our rivers and lakes. Others have been more recently imported and are sold through garden centres and then released into waterways when the owners get fed up with them. This is the focus of the Be Plantwise campaign that the Angling Trust supports and helped design. Others can be spread by the general public, including anglers, carrying these species on their clothing and fishing tackle inadvertently from one site to another.
Be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem!
This last pathway we can tackle now, AT urges all anglers to carefully think about this and how you can help with what is called bio-security; after fishing dry out your clothing and fishing tackle, especially nets, before fishing again. This is especially important when going on to a different water – carp anglers know the importance of this in spreading KHV, salmon anglers will know the importance with potentially spreading Gyrodactylus salaris. The deadly crayfish plague carried by signal crayfish can survive on damp clothing for up to 10 days (for more information and posters see the crayfish section). If drying out is not a viable option consider having one set of kit for your favourite water and another for travelling to waters you fish less often. Disinfecting kit is an option using iodone based (iodophors) disinfectant such as Wescodyne/Iosan CCT or FAM30/Iofarm generally available from farm or dairy suppliers.