In recent years the rate of new introductions of invasive freshwater species to Britain has increased dramatically
In recent years the rate of new introductions of invasive freshwater species to Britain has increased dramatically. Following the 1992 creation of a canal linking the Danube and Rhine, numerous species from the Ponto-Caspian basin have spread rapidly into Western Europe. Many of these species, which include killer shrimp, quagga and zebra mussel, are highly invasive. Before the canal was built, a new Ponto-Caspian species was introduced to Britain every 100 years but the rate has increased to one new species every 18 months since 2004.
Many more of these and other invasive freshwater species are present in neighbouring countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands. A key concern is that these could be introduced to Britain by recreational water users returning from a trip abroad with their own kit, many of whom travel to the near continent each year.
This summer the NNSS and Defra are working on a Check Clean Dry push targeting travellers, to reduce the risk of introduction of new invasive species and diseases. We will be displaying posters in major ports and promoting the campaign in specialist press and on social media (see below).