The new research, led by the University of Leeds and the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), found that the cleaning habits of anglers and canoeists could be a key part of the problem. The study, based on a survey of more than 1,500 water sports enthusiasts across the UK, found that 64% of anglers and 79% of canoeists used their equipment in more than one waterway in a fortnight.
A significant proportion of those people (12% of anglers and 50% of canoeists) said they did not clean or dry their kit before moving to the new waters. Dr Alison Dunn, Reader in Evolutionary Ecology in the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences, who led the Leeds group, said: “This is really alarming because some of the most dangerous invasive species can easily survive in damp equipment.
...Co-author Dr Paul Stebbing of Cefas said: “The killer shrimp is not the only invader capable of ’hitchhiking’ into new ecosystems on water sports equipment. The signal crayfish, which has been laying waste to native white-clawed crayfish populations, persists between three and seven days. Some invasive viruses and diseases can survive well over a month.”
...The “Check, Clean, Dry” campaign asks water sports participants to:
- Check all gear and clothing for live organisms, particularly in areas that are hard to inspect.
- Clean and wash all clothing, footwear and equipment properly.
- Dry all equipment thoroughly as many species can live for many days in moist conditions....