New regulations to protect native Freshwater White-clawed Crayfish

New regulations have been introduced by the Minster for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to protect the indigenous freshwater white-clawed crayfish in Ireland.

The White-clawed Crayfish is listed on Annex II and Annex V of the Habitats Directive and the species is protected in Ireland under the Wildlife Acts. European populations of freshwater crayfish have been affected by the impact of introduced, mainly American, species and disease (crayfish plague). There is no evidence to date that North American, or other non-native crayfish, have been introduced to Ireland. However, since 2015, crayfish plague outbreaks have been recorded for several catchments around the country. Once established, the fungal-type disease can decimate  crayfish population and result in local extinctions.

In acknowledgement of the risk posed to the native crayfish populations by non-native species, the Minster for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has introduced the European Union (Invasive Alien Species) (Freshwater Crayfish) Regulations 2018 SI 354/2018. The regulations target the introduction of species of non-native crayfish which have been included on the EU list of invasive alien species of Union concern (‘the Union list’). The new regulations will provide authorities in Ireland with the powers to prevent the arrival and spread of the five non-native species of crayfish included on the EU list of invasive alien species of Union concern.

The new regulations can be found at the following link:

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2018/si/354/made/en/print

For any queries relating to white-clawed crayfish, contact Pat Roberts or John Hynes on our Ecology Team in our Galway office on 091 735611.

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