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.
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 email@example.com.”