Check Clean Dry Summer 2016 – Don’t bring back invasive species and diseases from abroad

In recent years the rate of new introductions of invasive freshwater species to Britain has increased dramatically. Following the 1992 creation of a canal linking the Danube and Rhine, numerous species from the Ponto-Caspian basin have spread rapidly into Western Europe. Many of these species, which include killer shrimp, quagga and zebra mussel, are highly invasive. Before the canal was built, a new Ponto-Caspian species was introduced to Britain every 100 years but the rate has increased to one new species every 18 months since 2004.

Many more of these and other invasive freshwater species are present in neighbouring countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands. A key concern is that these could be introduced to Britain by recreational water users returning from a trip abroad with their own kit, many of whom travel to the near continent each year.

Going abroad this summer? Don’t bring back more than you bargained for!

If you’re off in search of sunny weather and new waters this summer remember to Check, Clean, Dry to make sure you don’t bring back any hitchhikers!

Invasive species can kill fish, reduce the quality of fishing and spread disease. As a water user you may unknowingly be spreading them from one water body to another. Animals, eggs, larvae and tiny plant fragments can easily be carried on equipment, shoes and clothing, and some can survive out of water in damp conditions for over two weeks.

Once established in a new waterbody, invasive species can become unmanageable. You can help to protect the sport you love by remembering to Check, Clean, Dry your clothing and equipment when you leave the water. If you’re heading abroad it’s even more important to Check, Clean, Dry while you’re away or you could bring back a new invasive species or disease.

Additional information

  • Check your equipment, clothing and footwear.
  • Clean everything thoroughly before you return, use hot water where possible.
  • Dry everything as some species can live for over two weeks in damp conditions.
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Species examples

  • Water primrose is a highly invasive water weed from South America. In France, where it is widely established, it blocks waterways and overgrows ponds and lakes making it impossible to [fish / sail / move] in them. Several million euros are spent there each year trying to control the existing populations. Here in Britain it is only found in a few sites which are under eradication. If it were to establish widely it could cost about £250 million to manage.
  • Quagga mussel was discovered in Britain in 2014. Like the Zebra mussel it can grow in dense clusters which block pipes and smother boat hulls, propellers and other structures, and significantly alter whole ecosystems by filtering out large quantities of nutrients.