23rd September 2011
Scientists from UK research institutions including London's Natural History Museum, the Countryside Council for Wales, Marine Biological Association, University of Newcastle and Royal Holloway, University of London are calling for the public to look out for the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) this autumn.
The survey results will be used to better understand the full extent of the Chinese mitten crab distribution in English and Welsh rivers. Anglers, waterway workers, boating enthusiasts and other nature enthusiasts are encouraged to identify and record sightings of the Chinese mitten crab via an online survey.
Chinese mitten crabs are now one of the most notorious aquatic invasive species featuring in the international list of the world’s 100 worst invasive species. They are regarded as a pest because they cause damage to fishing gear and unprotected river banks, block water systems as well as compete with native species for food and habitat.
Current records show that mitten crabs have established populations in the Thames, Medway, Ouse Washes, Humber and the Dee Estuary. Sightings from all rivers and watersheds will be useful but researchers are particularly interested in any from:
- The Thames west of Windsor to beyond Reading
- Tyne, Tees and Wear in the North East
- Dee and Merseyside and the
- Severn Estuary to the Isle of Wight in the South West
How to take part
You can download an identification flyer and report your sightings by phone, email or online and upload your photographs by visiting www.mittencrabs.org.uk