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Displaying items by tag: biosecurity

#Crayfish - Large numbers of dead freshwater crayfish have been reported in the River Barrow in the stretch from Carlow to Graiguemanagh.

It has been confirmed using DNA analysis that the cause of death was crayfish plague.

This is the fifth outbreak of the disease to be found in Ireland in the last two years, and follows just weeks after an outbreak in North Tipperary.

It is feared that if the disease spreads further, then it will threaten the survival of the entire Irish population of white-clawed crayfish, an endangered marine species.

This worrying situation is being investigated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Marine Institute.

All the agencies involved in managing and protecting the rivers in Ireland are concerned that another outbreak has been detected, and are reiterating their advice and guidance to all users of the river to implement routine cleaning and drying of their equipment once they leave the river and before using it again.

This is especially important as it is known that the crayfish plague organism can be carried on wet equipment to new sites. Containment of the outbreak is essential to prevent spread to other as yet unaffected populations in Ireland.

Waterways Ireland, which manages the Barrow navigation, has issued a marine notice calling all recreational, commercial, private and public body water users (boaters, walkers, swimmers, kayakers, rowers, machine operators, etc) to operate a temporary ban on moving watersport and angling equipment and other equipment or machinery that comes in contact with the water, out of or into the Barrow and all affected catchments.

People are also asked to alert the authorities of any mass mortality of crayfish or sightings of unusual crayfish that might be non-native species (such as crayfish with red claws, or of an unusually large size).

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Crayfish - All water users are being urged to take precautions to stop the spread of crayfish plague after confirmation of an outbreak on the Lorrha River in North Tipperary, close to Lough Derg and the River Shannon.

Numbers of dead freshwater crayfish were reported on the river in Lorrha village earlier this month, and DNA analysis has now confirmed that the cause of death was crayfish plague.

This is the fourth confirmed outbreak of crayfish plague since 2015, with earlier outbreaks affected the Bruskey/Erne River in Co Cavan, the River Suir downstream of Clonmel and the River Deel downstream of Newcastle West.

The situation is being investigated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), the Marine Institute, and Tipperary County Council.

The kill has impacted white-clawed crayfish only. Other freshwater animals are not affected. This is a characteristic feature of the disease which only infects species of crayfish but causes 100% mortality.

There is no indication at this stage of how the disease reached the Lorrha River. It is however known that the outbreak on the Suir involved a different strain of the disease to that in the Cavan outbreak.

Samples from the Lorrha River are being tested to determine which strain has caused the outbreak of the disease.

All agencies involved in managing and protecting the rivers in Ireland have expressed concern that another outbreak has been detected, and are reiterating their advice and guidance to all users of the river to implement routine cleaning and drying of their equipment once they leave the river and before using it again.

This is especially important as it is known that the crayfish plague organism can be carried on wet equipment to new sites. Containment of the outbreak is essential to prevent spread to other as yet unaffected populations in Ireland.

Anyone using the river is being urged to observe the Check, Clean and Dry protocol. All wet gear should be checked for any silt or mud, plant material or animals. It then should be cleaned and finally dried. Disinfectant or hot water (over 60C) should be used to clean all equipment followed by a 24-hour drying period. This should be adopted as standard practice in all freshwaters.

Drying is especially important, including removing of any water from inside a boat and disposing of it on grass. A drying period of at least 24 hours is needed to ensure that a boat is clear of infectious organisms.

Furthermore, all water users are asked to operate a temporary ban on moving watersport and angling equipment out of the River Suir and River Deel catchments, commencing immediately.

Watersport and angling equipment currently in use in the Suir and Deel catchments may continue to be used there, but boats, angling or water sports equipment should not be transferred in or out of the catchments.

Users are requested to limit their activity to the river sections where they normally operate, and avoid moving around the catchment. More advice is available from Biodiversity Ireland.

People are also asked to alert the authorities of any mass mortality of crayfish or sightings of unusual crayfish that might be non-native species (eg crayfish with red claws, large size).

The white-clawed crayfish is a globally threatened species and Ireland holds one of the largest surviving populations. It is the only freshwater crayfish species found in Ireland and is present in lakes, rivers and streams over much of the island.

Throughout its European range, this species has been decimated by the impact of crayfish plague, which spread to Europe with the introduction of North American species of crayfish. Until 2015, Ireland was considered free of the disease and it remains the only European country without any established non-native crayfish species.

Many American crayfish species are resistant to crayfish plague, but can act as carriers of the disease, which is rapidly fatal when passed to the white-clawed crayfish.

The combined impact of the introduced crayfish species (which may out-compete the smaller native crayfish) and crayfish plague have completely eliminated the white-clawed Crayfish from much of its European range, leaving Ireland as the last stronghold of the species.

The species is protected under Irish Law and the EU Habitats Directive. It is illegal to deliberately release any non-native species of crayfish into Irish freshwaters.

If crayfish plague becomes established, there is a high probability that the white-clawed crayfish will be eliminated from much of the island. What’s more, if non-native crayfish are found to be established in Ireland, this could have a severe impact on habitats (eg destabilising canal and river banks by burrowing) and other freshwater species, such as salmon and trout fisheries.

However, there is no evidence to date that non-native freshwater crayfish have been introduced to Ireland.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Canoeing - A new survey that aims to gather information on the current level of awareness of invasive species and their negative impacts among canoeing, kayaking and other paddle sports enthusiasts was launched earlier this week.

The survey is being co-ordinated by Ronan Cooney, a scientist and avid paddler, and Dr Joe Caffrey in conjunction with Inland Fisheries Ireland and Canoeing Ireland.

Many invasive species can survive for long periods out of water, in damp conditions, and can easily be transferred from one watercourse to another as paddlers move around the country.

In Europe it is estimated that 7% of invasive species were introduced by leisure activities (hiking, angling, boating, SCUBA diving and rowing), with the aquaculture (24%), fisheries interests (11%) and the ornamental plant sectors (10%) being the major vectors.

“Invasive species are regarded as being the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat destruction," says Dr Caffrey. "These invasive species can be seriously harmful to biodiversity and to ecosystem services in the country. The latter are estimated to be worth over €250 million per annum to Ireland.”

The risk posed to angling and waterways in general by invasive species is very significant. Angling in Ireland is estimated to be worth €755 million to the Irish economy. But a report published in 2013 estimates the cost of invasive species to the tourism and recreation sector to be in the region of €10 million. This sector employs 180,000 people and is worth €5 billion to the Irish economy.

Inland Fisheries Ireland and Canoeing Ireland, the national governing body of paddle sports in Ireland, have been collaborating proactively to reduce the potential spread of invasive species through paddle sports by producing guidelines for the disinfection of paddle sport equipment, the provision of wash-down facilities at major events, and workshops on raising awareness of invasive species.

It is recognised that recreational water users have the potential to be a vector for the spread of invasive species. According to a recent publication in the UK, the potential threat posed by canoeists and anglers for the spread of invasive species is growing.

As an example, some 78.5% of canoeists and 64% of anglers used their equipment in more than one watercourse within a fortnight, meaning that the potential for spread of these species on damp clothing or paddling equipment is high.

The data provided from the survey "will lead to the development of more effective operational practices and behaviours among paddlers and organising bodies, while also making water users aware of the potential negative effects that their activities could have on Irish aquatic ecosystems," says Dr Caffrey.

Dr Kieran McKevitt of Canoeing Ireland adds: “The survey will help us see how our work has improved awareness of invasive species since we started our collaboration with IFI over two years ago and see how paddlers have changed their habits in relation to gear and boat washing."

The survey can be found HERE. For more information on invasive species, visit the Inland Fisheries Ireland website. For more on the survey contact [email protected]

Published in Canoeing

#ANGLING - The Irish Angling Development Alliance (IADA) is running a series of biosecurity awareness evenings at venues across Ireland over the next two months.

The evenings follow from the "success" of the IADA's awareness section at the recent Ireland Angling Show, and will provide an opportunity for more people to "meet with experts in the field and see what invasive species are first-hand".

Three events, in association with Inland Fisheries Ireland, are scheduled:

  • 27 March at the Wetlands Centre, Ballybay, Co Monagahan (hosted by the Ballybay Angling Association)
  • 18 April at the Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan (hosted by the Cavan Anglers Club)
  • 23 May at the Salthill Hotel in Salthill, Galway (hosted by the Galway CAC)

All events run from 7:30pm till 9pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.

For more information contact Peter Walsh at [email protected]

Published in Angling

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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