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Warning To River Suir Water Users

Earlier this month, a large numbers of freshwater crayfish were reported as dead, on a stretch of the River Suir, downstream from Clonmel.

Analysis, now carried out on the crayfish, has confirmed that the cause of the mortality was a water multicellular fungus or mold known as ‘Crayfish Plague’.  All agencies including the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Tipperary County Council, have been working to contain this outbreak.

Important to Check, Clean and Dry
Any person entering the river for any reason is now being urged to observe the practice of ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ when leaving or entering water. All wet gear, including boats, waterproof clothing and other associated equipment used, should be checked for mud, silt and plant material before disinfecting or washing using boiling water, and before allowing a drying period of at least 24 hour. Ensure also that water introduced internally in boats and other water craft, are also treated. This procedure is essential in the preventing of the spread of Crayfish Plague to other unaffected waters.

Discovered for the first time in Ireland in 1987; based on previous experience gleaned regarding this disease, a 100% mortality of the crayfish population is expected, which in turn creates major consequences for the future ecology of this stretch of the river Suir. No resistance to this disease as yet has been discovered in native European crayfish.

River users are also being asked to alert the local authorities of any other mortality of crayfish discovered elsewhere. Contact Ms C. O’Flynn (coflynn@biodiversityireland.ie) at the National Biodiversity Data Centre, in Waterford.

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