A new eco-threat to our rivers and canals has been discovered by the Environment Agency. It's only a couple of millimetres long but it could damage miles of Midlands waterways.
It's a species of shrimp that destroys native creatures and plants - and breeds incredibly quickly. It's common in Europe but has never been found in this country - until last week.
Ecologists search Birmingham and Worcester canal at Tibberton for newly-discovered Eastern European shrimp believed to be related to so-called 'Killer Shrimp'. The species could cause damage to the ecosystem of waterways.
This new shrimp nicknamed Demon Shrimp is a relative of Killer Shrimp and it prefers muddy habitats. We haven't found it elsewhere as yet...From @AndrewRaineEA on Twitter:
According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), non-native invasive species can prey on, compete with and displace native wildlife. The can spread disease and block waterways. They can completely alter the balance of ecology in a water system.
Fish populations can alter, and they can block up waterways which mean boat users have to take different routes. The financial costs can run into millions of pounds.
It is the first time this relative of the 'Killer Shrimp' has been found in the UK. David Throup, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency said:
– David Throup, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency
“We are concerned that this invasive species has been found in the Midlands. We now have a dedicated team whose focus is to establish the degree of the problem, and whether the shrimp has spread wider than the locations already found. We are treating this as a priority so that we can come up with a plan to help contain it’s spread as far as possible.”
A species of shrimp related to the so-called 'Killer Shrimp' has been found on the River Severn near Worcester and on two canals in Worcestershire. The 'Killer Shrimp' is known to kill a range of native species, including young fish, and can significantly alter ecosystems.
The Environment Agency and Canal and River Trust are advising all waterways users to follow the Check, Clean, Dry routine - looking for the shrimp on equipment, washing it and drying it before moving to a new location.
A shrimp (Dikerogammarus haemobaphes), which is a relative of the so-called 'killer shrimp' has been found on the River Severn at Tewkesbury and Bevere near Worcester and on two canals in Worcestershire. It is the first time it has been found in this country.
According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) the ) is "a voracious predator [which] kills a range of native species, including young fish, and can significantly alter ecosystems".
But the Environment Agency is unsure what the impact of this new species will be. They say until they have further information it will be treated as a "high impact species" and have a team working to establish how far the shrimp has spread along the river.