Alert for killer shrimp in Humber region Published: 03 October, 2011
THE “killer” shrimp could be on its way to the Humber – close to the centre of Britain’s seafood processing industry.
Traps are being laid in Hornsea Mere – a large inland lake just a short distance from the North Sea – to track shrimps which could be invading the region’s waterways. Environment Agency officers have been monitoring the lake to check the number of invasive species, known as Dikerogammarus villosus.
Dubbed the killer shrimp, this alien creature can grow to 30mm (over an inch) long and kills a range of native species, particularly shrimps, young fish and insects such as damselflies and mayflies.Traps are also being set up at other selected waterways in Yorkshire. The Environment Agency said people could continue to use the Mere, but it is urging fishermen and boaters to be cautious with their equipment.
The Dikerogammarus villosus shrimp, which has gained the nickname “killer” as a result of its vociferous appetite, has spread across most of western Europe over the last 10 years.
The Environment Agency has described the species as ‘particularly vicious and destructive’. The creature was spotted by anglers at the Grafham Water reservoir in Cambridgeshire and sent to the Environment Agency for identification.The shrimp preys on a range of native species, such as freshwater invertebrates – particularly native shrimp – and even young fish. This alters the ecology of habitats it invades, and could cause extinctions.
Dr Paul Leinster, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said a few months ago: “We are devastated that this shrimp has been found in Britain… We are currently establishing the degree of the problem, and whether the shrimp is only in Grafham Water or if it is in nearby lakes and the Great Ouse as well.”