Stopping the spread of crayfish plague
All waterway users need to be aware about good practice to help prevent the spread of invasive crayfish species and diseases. Crayfish plague can be easily spread between sites on wet angling kit or water sports equipment. If you use rivers and lakes either as a walker, angler or for other activities (canoeists, divers, gorge walkers etc.), there are some simple things that you can do to help to prevent the spread of plague, see information below.
When planning to boat/canoe on multiple waterbodeis, visit the signal free areas first and ensure all equipment including boats are disinfected and dried before entering an additional watercourse.
Anglers must never use any crayfish as bait, live or dead (this is illegal). If you catch an introduced crayfish on a fishing line see the information on finding a crayfish.
If a river or on-line lake is being stocked with fish in areas with White-claw populations, the fish stock should not come from areas with Signal crayfish.
Angling lake © Stephanie Peay
Help STOP the spread of crayfish plague by:
- Dry all wet and muddy equipment used in rivers and lakes for several days
- Thoroughly washing all wet and muddy gear and then dry for several days
- Disinfect with a suitable disinfectant (e.g. domestic bleach, an iodine-based disinfectant, FAM30, Virkon or others). Clean off any mud before using a disinfectant and make sure you dispose of the left over disinfectant carefully so it doesn’t cause any pollution to waters.
- Anglers try to avoid fishing different rivers or other waterbodies on the same day, but if you do then disinfect all wet gear between sites. It helps prevent the spread of diseases and parasites of fish too.
- If there is an outbreak of crayfish plague in a river, avoid going into the water if at all if possible. When there are dead and dying White-claws the risk of spreading crayfish plague is hugely increased.
Further information on biosecurity measures can be found on the Environment Agency website and in the resource below. Information on the GB Non-Native Species Secriteriat check-clean-dry campaign can be found on their website and a copy of the poster can be downloaded here.
The anglers card produced by the South West Crayfish Project can be downloaded here.