East Anglia: ‘Killer shrimp’ spread on the Broads

‘KILLER shrimp’ have been discovered in Wroxham Broad, the Environment Agency has confirmed.

Until now, the shrimp had only been recorded from Barton Broad, the associated River Ant system and a small area around the confluence of the Rivers Ant and Bure. But the news signifies the slow spread of the Dikerogammarus villosus.

This non invasive killer shrimp is a non-native species which grow to a maximum of 30mm (11/4 inches). However it does feed on insect life including native species such as damselfly nymphs, water boatmen and small fish, putting these species in danger - especially if the shrimp became established and widespread.

Andrew Raine, from the Environment Agency’s monitoring team, said: “As human activity is the most likely cause of spreading killer shrimp between sites it’s imperative that all water users consider their actions particularly if they are moving equipment between water bodies whether that be boats, canoes or fishing nets”.

He says it is vital for users of the Broads to ‘Check Clean and Dry’ equipment which has come into contact with the water, following the recent discovery of the invasive non-native shrimp.

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Andrea Kelly, senior ecologist for the Broads Authority, said: “The shrimp were found through a dedicated monitoring programme. People checking, cleaning and drying their equipment after use is essential to help stop the spread of all non-native species and we would really appreciate their full cooperation in doing this.

“We are working with our partners to investigate the shrimps’ current population and range in the Broads and to investigate and implement measures to limit its spread to and from other water courses. There is no risk to the public or their pets from it.”

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All water users are being asked to take note of the Check Clean Dry campaign.

Clothing and equipment that has come into contact with the water should be checked for any living organisms and then thoroughly washed-down, with any organisms found returned to the water body they came from. The clothing and equipment should then be dried as some species can survive for days in damp conditions.

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