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 which is not far from 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. The 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 following is advised by an interagency group set up to address Crayfish plague outbreaks in the River Suir (Clonmel, Co Tipperary), the River Deel (Newcastle West, Co Limerick) and now the Lorrha River (North Tipperary).
· Crayfish Plague, which is fatal to our native populations of Freshwater White-Clawed Crayfish has been confirmed in the above catchments.
· All native crayfish that become infected will die.
· Ireland holds the largest population of the White-clawed Crayfish that remains in Europe.
· Crayfish Plague is easily transmitted in water or via contaminated equipment (eg canoes, waders or nets).
· Crayfish plague may also have entered into other rivers. Emergency disease containment measures are therefore needed to help ensure its containment and prevent its spread.
If movements are essential, all recreational equipment including clothing etc should be thoroughly dried out and the following biosecurity measures followed.
· All water users are asked to operate a temporary ban on moving water sports and angling equipment out of the River Suir and River Deel catchments - commencing immediately.
· Water sports 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 also requested to limit their activity to the river sections where they normally operate, avoid moving around the catchment and follow biosecurity protocols – "Check, Clean, Dry".
Further information including guidance for anglers: http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/crayfish-plaque-2017
Read the latest press release here: http://www.waterwaysireland.org/news-centre/press-releases/134/water-users-urged-to-take-precautions-due-to-outbreak-of-crayfish-plague-on-the-lorrha-river-north-tipperary
Interagency personnel from National Parks and Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, Tipperary County Council, Tipperary Sports Partnership, Waterford City and County Council, Marine Institute, Local Authority Water and Communities Office, Waterways Ireland and National Biodiversity Data Centre