The campaign aims to counter the threat to Britain’s economy and wildlife posed by the spread of invasive non-native species such as the “killer shrimp”. Richard Benyon said:
“Aggressive species from across the world have the potential to reach Britain and cause real damage and even wipe out some of our native wildlife.
“We all have a duty to stop this from happening, and all those that use the water for recreation and sport can do their bit by heeding the advice to Check, Clean and Dry their boats and gear. Just a few moments care can mean the difference between keeping our rivers and lakes healthy or infecting them with the likes of a killer shrimp or invasive non-native plants.”
Ben Hunt-Davis said: “Rowers, along with other recreational water users, need to be aware of the simple actions they can take to protect our aquatic environments, not just from the killer shrimp but from all invasive non-native plants and animals.
“We all have a responsibility towards our natural environment so it is particularly encouraging to see so many organisations behind this campaign.
“Though we may have different interests, by working together under a common theme – Check, Clean, Dry – we can really drive this important message home. I’m really pleased therefore to support this campaign.”
The campaign is aimed at all those that use the water for recreation and sport who can unwittingly spread non-native invasive species as they move between different bodies of water like rowing lakes. Individual organisms, eggs, larvae and plant fragments can be carried on equipment, clothing and footwear.
All recreational water users can take some simple steps to help prevent the infection of healthy waterways:
- Check equipment and clothing for live organisms – particularly in areas that are damp or hard to inspect.
- Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothing thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them.
- Dry all equipment and clothing – some species can live for many days in moist conditions. Make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere.
Defra is working with the Welsh Assembly Government and a wide range of conservation agencies and charities to tackle the threat posed by non-native aquatic species, but the public also has a vital role to play.
Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, Mark Lloyd, said: “Invasive non-native species are of great concern to anglers. We are seeing fisheries in rivers and lakes being destroyed by their presence. We fully support this campaign to stop the spread and urge all water users to follow this best practice.”
Chief Executive of the British Canoe Union, Paul Owen, said: “The BCU takes very seriously the need for biosecurity and we fully support the campaign. All of the home nations have produced clear guidelines for all canoeists in their country as to how to prevent the spread of alien species. Canoe England has the ’You, Your Canoe and the environment‘ leaflet which clearly defines best practice in terms of the environment and biosecurity. Canoeing is the most popular watersport and we encourage all canoeists, members or not, to follow our guidance for the environment and biosecurity.”
British Rowing Facilities Consultant, Alan Meegan, said: “British Rowing is committed to helping Defra contain the spread of invasive aquatic species from overseas. Defra has been very pro-active over this and we are pleased to support them in doing all that we can to protect our native species”.
RYA Planning and Environmental Advisor, Caroline Price, said: “The RYA welcomes this new awareness campaign. A joined-up approach is vital if we are to encourage best practice and prevent the spread of invasive species.”
Head of Science at the Salmon & Trout Association, Janina Gray, said: “Invasive non-native species can cause far-reaching ecological imbalances within watercourses, so controlling their spread is vital if we are to protect native species and their habitats”