We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

News article created on 8 October 2012

Invasive shrimp found in West Midlands

The shrimp, Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, which is a relative of the ‘killer shrimp’ has been found in several locations on the West Midlands. This is the first time this non-native shrimp, which has been shown to be invasive on mainland Europe, has been found in this country.

The shrimp was found after samples were taken from the River Severn by APEM for Severn Trent Water. Shortly after, other populations were discovered on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal and the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The sites are spread over a distance of approximately 38 kilometres.

While this new invasive shrimp species is related to the ‘killer shrimp’, we are uncertain at this stage what its impact might be. Until we have better information we will, as a precaution, treat it as a high impact species. An immediate assessment of the risks of this shrimp has been commissioned.

Track the spread

We’re working together with the Environment Agency to develop a coordinated response. We hope to monitor the known populations of this species and survey the wider area to track its spread. We will also raise awareness of this species with staff, volunteer groups, partners and waterway users so that they a can do their bit to help reduce its spread.

Chris John, national ecologist at the Canal & River Trust said: “As the charity responsible for caring for 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across the country, one of our primary aims is to protect the nations waterways from invasive species such as this.

“We need the support of people that enjoy the waterways to prevent the shrimp spreading by checking, cleaning and drying any clothes, equipment or craft that could carry invasive species, before and after they visit the waterways, and by reporting any suspected sightings of the shrimp to alert_nonnative@ceh.ac.uk.”

What you can do to help

  • Human activity is one of the main ways non-native invasive species spread. There is a national government-backed campaign on ‘biosecurity measures’ to encourage visitors to our canals and rivers to take action to help stop the fight against invasive non-native species.
  • It is essential that everyone using the waterway network takes steps to ensure they do not inadvertently spread this species. We’re asking users of the canal to implement the following measures to reduce the likelihood of this happening:
  • Waterway staff, contractors and volunteers, anglers, kayakers and other recreational users should always ‘check, clean and dry’ their clothing and equipment between uses. They should check their equipment before they enter the water and again when they leave site. 
  • Managers or representatives of clubs and associations should ensure that their members are aware of the need of the for biosecurity measures.
  • Boaters should ensure that they do not transfer potentially contaminated water by emptying bilge pumps before moving locations.
  • Report any suspected sightings of non-native shrimps to alert_nonnative@ceh.ac.uk