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25 Jan 2022

Fears over suspected plague outbreak in Offaly river

Fears over suspected plague outbreak in Offaly river

Offaly county council are advising water users to take precautions not to spread crayfish plague

THERE is a suspected crayfish plague outbreak on the Clodiagh river in Offaly.

Offaly County Council's water programme has been notified of the issue and samples are being tested.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service have also been notified.

Offaly County Council are advising water users, including recreational users, anglers, scientific assessment/ sampling users in this catchment to ensure all measures are put in place to prevent the spread of disease and invasive species.

All agencies involved in managing and protecting the rivers in Ireland should encourage and ensure users of the river to check, clean and dry their equipment before using it and again when leaving a river.

The crayfish plague disease can be carried on wet equipment, so all necessary measures must be put in place to prevent the spread to unaffected populations in other rivers.

Offaly county council are advising people to:

CHECK – all equipment and remove any plant and animal matter before leaving a site and again before entering a new site.

CLEAN – Disinfect equipment with an approved disinfectant.

DRY – Ensure equipment is allowed to dry before entering a new site and any residual water is drained from boats etc before leaving a site, see further advice below.

Offaly County Council say: "Crayfish plague is a disease that decimates our native crayfish populations causing 100% mortality. The White-clawed crayfish is native to Ireland and is commonly found in many lakes, rivers and streams. It is an important part of the river ecosystem as it is a grazer of plants and is food for the otter. The White-clawed crayfish is a protected species (White-clawed Crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes | National Parks & Wildlife Service (www.npws.ie). However crayfish plague is an Invasive Species and is a huge threat to this native population due to its devastating impact."

People are being asked to circulate this information to any water users to ensure they are implementing the biosecurity measures outlined.

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