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Fisheries Body Welcomes New Legislation To Help Protect Native White-Clawed Crayfish

2nd October 2018
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A native white-clawed crayfish A native white-clawed crayfish Photo: D Gerke/IFI

#Crayfish - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) says it welcomes new legislation to strengthen existing measures to protect the native white-clawed crayfish.

The European Union (Invasive Alien Species) (Freshwater Crayfish) Regulations 2018 will provide Irish authorities with powers to prevent the arrival and spread of five non-native species of crayfish included on the EU List of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern.

Ireland holds one of the largest surviving populations of the globally threatened white-clawed crayfish, a freshwater species protected under Irish law and the EU Habitats Directive.

The species has been decimated throughout Europe by the impact of crayfish plague — and many North American crayfish species are believes to be vectors for the disease.

While there is no evidence that any non-native crayfish have been introduced to Ireland, crayfish plague has now reached five rivers in Ireland, possibly by spores carried on angling equipment.

IFI says the prospect of the disease being controlled depends on the absence of non-native crayfish.

​“We welcome this new legislation which is needed if we are to resist the threat from introduced crayfish,” says IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne.

​“If invasive alien crayfish were to be introduced in Ireland, this could have a devastating effect on the ecology of many of the lakes and rivers.

“We would urge the public to comply with the new regulations and help protect our native crayfish species. In particular, we would remind anglers to maintain vigilance in relation to the crayfish plague by carrying out routine cleaning and drying of equipment once leaving a river and before using it again.”

Sightings of unusual crayfish (eg red claws, large size) or any mass mortalities of crayfish can ve reported to the relevant authorities by contacting the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the National Biodiversity Data Centre or Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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