Crayfish plague has been detected in River Nore in Kilkenny City

National Parks and Wildlife Service advises strict biosecurity

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Outbreak of Crayfish Plague reported

White-clawed Crayfish have been affected by an outbreak of Crayfish Plague on a stretch of the River Nore

A plague affecting crayfish has made its way into the River Nore in Kilkenny, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has confirmed.

A crayfish collected in Kilkenny City tested positive for the disease. If Crayfish plague is suspected, contact NPWS, the National Biodiversity Data Centre or the Marine Institute who will advise on actions to be taken. 

The advice is that strict biosecurity is observed when working in all these catchments. The highest level of risk is moving equipment that has been used in an affected area to an unaffected catchment.

The Crayfish Plague disease organism (a water-mould Aphanomyces astaci) is microscopic and invisible to the naked eye and is only viable in water. It is completely harmless to people, pets, livestock and all other freshwater organisms.

"Ideally do not enter rivers which are potentially contaminated but if you do, Check-clean-dry should be used to decontaminate wet equipment BEFORE using it again in another river," said an information note from the NPWS. See here for more information.

The NPWS has also confirmed that a population of a non-indigenous crayfish species (NICS) has been found for the first time in the wild in Ireland.

There has always been a concern that a NICS may become established in Ireland and this has now been confirmed by the discovery of a population of an Australian Crayfish, the Yabby, Cherax destructor. NPWS are working at the site to assess the size of the population. The location is not being disclosed at this time.