The county’s largest nature conservation charity is asking people visiting the countryside to make a pledge to protect the globally endangered native white-clawed crayfish.
Pollution and habitat destruction are widespread pressures that affect many of our native freshwater species nationally. However, white-clawed crayfish are also in danger from two new threats, non-native invasive crayfish and crayfish plague.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is now encouraging people visiting the countryside to follow the following Crayfish Code to give thefreshwater crustaceans a helping hand.
1. Do not touch, buy or sell crayfish. Movement of live non-native crayfish is a major way to spread plague.
2. Check, Clean, Dry… Disinfect, or completely dry out, all kit (waders, nets, rods, wetsuits, etc.) before using again.
3. Avoid fishing, diving or surveying in more than one location in one day.
4. Do not use native or non-native crayfish as fishing bait.
5. Report all sightings of native and non-native crayfish to your local Wildlife Trust.
6. Let us know where you remember seeing crayfish in the past.
7. Report any suspected illegal crayfish trapping to the Environment Agency.
8. Seek advice before planning any schemes that might disturb crayfish and their habitats.
9. Report all pollution incidents and fish kills immediately to the Environment Agency on their 24 hour emergency Pollution Hotline 0800 80 70 60
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Nick Mott, said:
“Staffordshire retains some Internationally-important populations of white-clawed crayfish. The number one threat to their continued survival is the spread of American signal crayfish and the deadly crayfish plague they can pass onto our indigenous species.
“Plague can be spread accidentally via ‘wet pathways’ such as muddy wellies, dogs’ fur, fishing kit, diving gear, bikes, horses and boats. We are asking people to pledge to Check, Clean, Dry to help protect our white-clawed crayfish.”
For more information about protecting the native white-clawed crayfish, download a Trust booklet and check out the Trust website
For more information also visit http://www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry/index.cfm and http://www.nonnativespecies.org//beplantwise/index.cfm