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04/11/2013 - New Partnership to Tackle Invasive Crayfish

The Angling   Trust and CEFAS today announced trials to find ways of reducing the impact of   signal crayfish on English water bodies.

CEFAS (the   Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science) and the Angling   Trust have joined forces to try and find the most effective way of reducing   signal crayfish numbers and their impacts on our aquatic wildlife. The   Defra-funded project is supported by an army of volunteers from angling clubs   and others with an interest in the conservation of their local rivers, lakes   and canals.

The   volunteers will be supported by CEFAS scientists who will analyse the results   of the study. The aim is to produce a guide to water managers on the most   efficient way of reducing signal crayfish numbers.

The study   will also provide some useful insights into the challenges and opportunities   posed by different angling venues, including public access and mixed-use   waters.

Signal   crayfish have been rapidly invading our waterways since the 1970s, predating   on fish, fish eggs, invertebrates, and burrowing into banks causing them to   collapse. They are the biggest threat to our native white clawed crayfish   through predation, and passing on the deadly crayfish plague that they carry   but against which our native species have no immunity.

The work is   also being supported by the Environment Agency and Natural England with   further investigations underway to look at alternative methods of control   such as male sterilisation.

Environment   Minister Lord de Mauley said:

“Signal   crayfish are damaging our native aquatic life and eroding our riverbanks, but   with volunteers and scientists working together, we will be able to identify   the most effective ways of reducing the destruction they are causing to our   waterways.”

Mark Lloyd,   Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, said:

“One of the   most common issues our members contact us about is that of non-native   crayfish invading rivers, lakes and canals. They are known to damage fish   stocks by eating eggs and young fish, and they can make many fishing   techniques impossible because as soon as the bait hits the bottom it is   grabbed by a crayfish claw. This can seriously affect the sales of angling   permits and licences, which damages rural businesses that rely on anglers for   income."

He added:   “The Angling Trust is very keen to find a solution to this widespread issue   to help protect fish stocks and fishing for the benefit of all anglers and   the water environment. We all hope very much that these trials will be   successful so that we can then look at expanding them to the rest of the   country and bring these alien invaders under control.”

Angling   Trust

The Angling   Trust is the unified representative body that fights to protect fish and   fishing on behalf of all anglers, supported by its membership of clubs,   fisheries, tackle shops and individuals. Find out all about the Angling Trust   and its work at   or on 01568 620447.




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Martin James Fishing
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