Launch of Invasive Species Disinfection Guidelines for Paddle Sports Enthusiasts

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), in association with Canoeing Ireland, has recently launched invasive species disinfection guidelines for paddle sports enthusiasts at the Canoeing Ireland Club Championships 2014 at Clashganny on the River Barrow. 

canoe
Launch of invasive species disinfection guidelines for paddle sports enthusiasts at the Canoeing Ireland Club Championships 2014 at Clashganny on the River Barrow. (Left to Right: Michael Millane (Research officer, Inland Fisheries Ireland), Benny Cullen (Development Officer, Canoeing Ireland) and Kieran McKevitt (Environment and Access Officer, Training and Development Unit, Canoeing Ireland).

Ireland is replete with quality watercourses that cater for a wide diversity of water user groups. In recent years, paddle sports such as canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding have increased in popularity attracting both local and international enthusiasts to our waterways. Such recreational activities occur in a wide range of aquatic habitat settings throughout the country. Paddle sports watercraft and associated equipment are known to facilitate the introduction and spread of environmentally damaging invasive species and fish pathogens. These may be carried from one water body to another as hull fouling organisms in bilge water, or entangled in equipment exposed to the water.

Such inadvertent introductions of invasive species such as Asian clam, parasites such as Salmon fluke or pathogens can dramatically alter the ecology of receiving watercourses and render them unavailable for recreational and other water-based pursuits. Invasive species can also result in a deterioration in water quality and significant fish mortality.  Invasive plant species are of particular concern to paddle sports enthusiasts as they can block waterways.  The Salmon fluke (Gyrodactylus salaris), which has not been recorded in Ireland to date, is another invasive species of particular concern that could be inadvertently introduced to the country by paddle sports enthusiasts visiting or returning from overseas from infected areas.  This fluke has the potential cause a catastrophic collapse of native Atlantic salmon stocks in Irish rivers (as happened in Norway) if it were to become established here.

canoe
Inland Fisheries Ireland invasive species education and awareness stand at the Canoeing Ireland Club Championships 2014 at Clashganny on the River Barrow.

In order to minimise the risk of introducing invasive species, parasites or pathogens to Irish watercourses or the spread of these unwelcome visitors within the country via paddle sports equipment, it is essential that basic biosecurity measures are adhered to. Following each trip, all paddle sports equipment should be routinely inspected, disinfected and thoroughly dried out.

Items of paddle sports equipment that require attention might include:
Canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards; clothing including wet suits, cags, personal flotation devices, spray skirts, helmets; leashes and paddles.

Prior to leaving any location following a trip, you should:

  • Drain water from watercraft.
  • Inspect watercraft (inside and out) and other gear. Remove and safely dispose of allattached plant and animal material, mud or debris.
  • Spray or clean watercraft with disinfectant or power-hose with heated water (60oC).
  • Rinse and dry all gear thoroughly.
  • Where practicable, a volume of disinfectant should be poured into the watercraft and gear disinfected by immersion using a 1% solution of Virkon® Aquatic or other proprietary disinfectant with a contact time of at least 15 minutes.

 The disinfection guidelines can be downloaded from here  pdf Invasive Species Disinfection Guidelines for Paddle Sports (6.69 MB)  [.pdf, 7MB]

 

When invasive species become established they cause significant damage to freshwater ecosystems, fish populations and to the economies that depend upon them. Next to habitat loss, invasive species are considered the greatest threat to native biodiversity. Anglers play a vital role in protecting the native and unique fish stocks and waterways on the island of Ireland. Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Institute of Technology, Sligo are looking for anglers to take a short online questionnaire called “Angling and invasive species”...

IT Sligo
With more than 10 aquatic invasive species detected in Irish waters in the last decade, the importance of their early identification and management was discussed at a workshop in IT Sligo recently, organised by IT Sligo, Inland Fisheries Ireland and the National Biodiversity Data Centre, and supported by the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland...

freshwater jellyfish
Freshwater jellyfish (also known as peach-blossom jellyfish) are newly recorded in Ireland since August 2013 (in Lough Derg and Lough Erne) but as of yet has not been recorded in other Irish freshwaters...

FINS speakers
The European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Advisory Commission (EIFAAC) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) recently hosted a conference for scientists, managers and policy makers across the European Union. Entitled Freshwater Invasives: Networking for Strategy (FINS), the conference took place in Galway, Ireland from 8-12 April 2013...

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