Beware the new killer shrimp

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CORMORANTS, crays, otters, and biblical-proportioned floods... fisheries are beset by threats – and it just got WORSE with the discovery of junior ‘killer shrimp’ in the cut!

Dikerogammarus haemophaphes – a smaller but equally voracious cousin of the ‘killer shrimp’ discovered in Grafham last year – is in the local Grand Union.

Environment Agency scientists have found samples of the creature, also known as ‘demon shrimp’, near Blisworth and Stoke Bruerne.

And the fear is that, if it isn’t there already, the alien species will spread into the nearby Tove, into the Ouse and then into stillwaters beyond. But, in the worse case scenario, ALL fisheries are at risk.

Described by the EA as: “Posing an equal ecological threat to killer shrimp,” the centimetre-long bug is an aggressive coloniser feeding on fish eggs, tiny fish fry – and invertebrates which are the main food source of both immature fish and water birds...which is bad news for the future.

Controlling its spread in ‘open’ water systems is 
described as ‘difficult’ (biologist-speak for next to impossible).

The hope is that bigger fish will eat enough demon shrimp to reduce its potential for damage; and that all anglers will be serious about helping avoid hastening its spread.

EA Central Region fisheries and biodiversity head Dr Ian Hirst said: “It can cling to wet nets and waders and, in cool damp conditions, still be alive a week later.

“We are asking everyone to follow our Check-Clean-Dry code: checking their equipment for strange organisms, wherever they’ve fished, cleaning them off, and drying the kit thoroughly.”

The latter is a proven way of killing the problem beasties.

Originating from Eastern Europe, the ‘demon’ has come to Britain (possibly partly via boat hulls and ballast tanks) through Western Europe...changing aquatic life systems on its way.

Looking much like an ordinary shrimp, it has distinctive red antennae and a liking for silty areas – making canals and ponds its ideal home.

FINEDON, Decoy lakes, Whittlesea: Dave ‘supervet’ Ross 64-4 (carp), Barry Lawrence 22-8, Steve Amos 19lb.

WHITE Hart Flore, Spring Pools: Mark Griffiths 40lb, Trevor Griffiths 30lb, Dick Spriggs 28.

CASTLE Ashby: Saturday brickyard, Pete Lovell 37lb, Mick Hewlett 35lb, Chris Garratt 24-12; Sunday Grendon, Pete Lovell 38-12, Keith Garratt 12-12, Steve Bull 11-14; Sunday brickyard, Hewlett 27-4, Mick Whaddham 19-12, James Kemp & Bob Reed both 15-2.

TOWN vets, Mill Cotton lake: Bob Spencer 36-8, Dave Smart 35-2, Paul Lafflin 28-12.

DAVENTRY, Peatling lakes: Barry Carr 26-10, Graham Cheney 24-8, Mick Turner 17-12.

TOWCESTER vets, Navvi canal: Tosh Saunders 8-1, Gerald Green 5-12, Mick Reed 3-2.

NENE, Stoke long pound: Baz Eaton 5-4, Paul Minney 2-8, Bob Eales 2-4.

FLORE & Brockhall, local cut: Jim Tanser 1-2-7, Steve Smith 1-2-3, Gareth Abraham 1-0-12.