Limerick river one of seven to be affected by crayfish plague

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Email:

normap@limerickleader.ie

Limerick river one of seven to be affected by crayfish plague

 Disease is predicted to wipe out native crayfish along the river system

THE Maigue river has become the second river in Limerick to be affected by a disease which is threatening our native crayfish species.

The Crayfish Plague was detected in the Maigue, upstream from Adare, earlier this year and the prediction is that  the disease will wipe out crayfish from the entire river system.

The Deel river has already been confirmed as having the disease and with the addition of the Maigue, a total of seven rivers nationwide are now affected.

In a bid to tackle the issue, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, along with the Marine Institute have re-issued a warning to all water users about the severe and increasing threat to our native crayfish species.

Ireland holds one of the largest populations of the globally-endangered white-clawed crayfish.

In a statement issued this week, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has confirmed that a population of a non-native crayfish species has been found for the first time in the wild in Ireland but the site has, so far, not been disclosed.

A population of an Australian crayfish, the Yabby ( Cherax destructor) was discovered.  

The Service has also been made aware of a stock of a non-native crayfish being held in an aquarium. 

“We would like to emphasise the growing threat that alien invasive species are having on biodiversity in Ireland and globally and we urge everyone to think carefully and help in its prevention,” Brian Nelson Invertebrate Ecologist with the National Parks and  Wildlife Service said.

The Service is reminding pet shops and those with aquariums, that the keeping and importing of five of the most invasive species is now illegal and any specimens should be reported to them.

They have  also called on all water users to take responsible action and to comply with the Check-Clean-Dry guidelines.