Invasive species news and updates
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.
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.
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]
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