CHECK CLEAN DRY CAMPAIGN – Fishupdate.com

CHECK CLEAN DRY CAMPAIGN Published:  27 September, 2011

Water users encouraged to take simple steps to fight invasive species.

All those who use and enjoy Scotland’s waters are being encouraged to take three sensible measures to tackle invasive non-native species and minimise their spread.

The Check, Clean, Dry campaign was launched by Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson on a visit to Loch Leven in Kinross today, Tuesday, September 27. Anglers, boat owners, canoeists and all other water users are being encouraged to:

* Check equipment and clothing for live plants and animals* Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothing thoroughly* Dry all equipment and clothing, as some species can live for many days in moist conditions

Mr Stevenson said: “From the mountainous Highlands to our urban and industrial areas, Scotland has a diverse range of water habitats, which enrich the environment and provide fantastic opportunities for leisure activities – as I’ve seen for myself at Loch Leven today. They also make important economic and social contributions and are a boost for tourism.

“However, the spread of invasive species are an increasing problem, which threatens native species and our aquatic ecosystems. Water users can unwittingly help the spread of these foreign invaders if they don’t adhere to three simple steps – to check, clean and dry their equipment and clothing when leaving the water.

“Once invasive species become established in Scotland, it is often very difficult and costly to remove them. Therefore it is in all our interests to apply these sensible measures to stop their spread in the first place and ensure that our burns, rivers, lochs, and canals continue to be such tranquil and beautiful locations for Scots and visitors alike to enjoy.”

Chris Horrill, Project Development Manager for the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS), said: “The Check, Clean, Dry campaign promotes simple but effective actions that will reduce the risk of introduction and spread of invasive non-native species that are a significant and growing threat to Scotland’s rivers and lochs and the economically important resources they support.

“The Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government, government agencies, its member Trusts and their professional and volunteer networks to help promote this campaign.”

Robin Payne, non-native species specialist at Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “It’s important for all of us to be aware of the threats to our rivers and lochs posed by non-native species, and understand how we can play a part in stopping their spread. Similar long-term campaigns in New Zealand and the USA have made a real difference. These simple precautions will be vital in keeping the zebra mussel and curly waterweed from spreading further in Scotland, as well as species we thankfully don’t have, such as the killer shrimp, from reaching here.”

Stewart Stevenson launched the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ (part of a UK-wide campaign) at the Loch Leven National Nature Reserve in Kinross. The target audience are all water users and the campaign is designed to raise awareness and encourage responsible behaviours that minimise the risk of entry and spread of aquatic invasive non-native species.

Water users are being encouraged to follow some simple bio-security (good hygiene) practices – to check, clean, dry clothing and equipment when leaving the water, to help to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species and therefore protect the water sports they love.

Find out more about the Clean, Check, Dry Campaign at:https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/index.cfm?sectionid=98

The Scottish campaign is focused on both stopping the spread of any invasive non-natives species into Scottish waters and minimising the impact of any that are already found here. Examples include the Zebra Mussel (from the Black, Caspian and Aral Seas), of which there have been a few recorded findings of in the Forth and Clyde canal system. The New Zealand Pigmyweed has been found in Scotland but is not widespread – the species grows in dense mats that restrict native species.

Scotland is so far free of the ‘Killer Shrimp’ from the Caspian region in Eastern Europe, which has been found in England and Wales. This aggressive species is listed in the ‘Top 100 worst alien species in Europe’ and specimens are known to be able to survive for up to 15 days on damp material – underlining the importance of the Check, Clean, Dry campaign.