Real Men Keep their Tackle Clean!

5th April 2014

The battle is on to protect Cumbria’s lakes and rivers from the march of the killer shrimp and other Invasive non-native species.

Cockermouth Anglers keeping their tackle clean!

Anglers and conservationists have joined forces for a new campaign to halt the spread of diseases, parasites and alien invasive species which could seriously damage the county’s rivers and lakes, and the fish and wildlife they support.

Thursday the 10th April saw West Cumbria Rivers Trust (WCRT), Cockermouth Anglers and the Environment Agency launch the campaign. Information and materials are being sent to angling clubs, coaches and shops across west Cumbria. But the pièce de résistance was the gathering of an enthusiastic group of Cockermouth anglers who promoted the message with a banner and a whole lotta attitude on the tranquil banks of Cogra Moss reservoir, near Lamplugh.

“Real Men Keep Their Tackle Clean” urges fishermen to check, clean and dry their angling equipment and clothing to prevent the spread of invaders like killer shrimp, zebra mussel, crayfish plague, and even plants like crassula, floating pennywort and curly waterweed which can choke up waterways and take over lakes.

West Cumbria Rivers Trust Partnership Officer Karin Crofts said: “We already have problems with species like Crassula in Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake, but in other parts of Britain and Ireland the situation is much worse. Infestations of invasive non-native mussels and clams can carpet vast areas of lake beds, and weeds make canoeing, sailing, swimming or fishing pretty well impossible. But one of the greatest threats is the ‘Killer shrimp’ and its close relative the ‘Demon shrimp’.”

Introduced from Eastern Europe, the shrimp spread across the continent attacking and wiping out native invertebrates, and even young fish, Karin explained: “Since their introduction into England in 2010 the shrimp managed to hitch a ride from Cambridgeshire to the Norfolk Broads. And more recently it has been discovered in a Cheshire river; highlighting the desperate need for water users to take action and prevent it from spreading further.”

The message and the measures are clear and simple: Before moving from one river or lake to another, follow these three simple steps:

“With an estimated 4 million anglers in the UK, there is a real need to raise awareness of this threat” Chris Addy of the Environment Agency said, “once invasive species become established in rivers and lakes, they’re almost impossible to eradicate, so the best way to control them is by preventing their introduction. This is a team effort and it’s great to be working with the WCRT and Cockermouth Anglers to raise the profile of this issue. But the message is not just for anglers, all water users have a responsibility to help protect the rivers and lakes they visit and enjoy.”

For more information visit http://www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry or contact Karin at West Cumbria Rivers Trust on 017687 44347