Advice from the Green Blue, following the discovery of the invasive Quagga Mussel in the Wraysbury River and Reservoir, is to make sure we ‘Check Clean,Dry’ our boats and equipment before changing locations.
Jane Swan, The Green Blue Project Manager “The Quagga Mussel is a highly invasive non-native species. It can affect whole ecosystems by filtering out large quantities of nutrients. It also presents a serious biofouling risk by blocking pipes, smothering boat hulls and other structures.
“Eradication of most invasive species once established outside their usual range is very difficult so the best approach to deal with arrival of new species is to focus on better biosecurity, especially the 'Check, Clean, Dry' routine for both inland and coastal boating activities”
Actions to take
On the water
- When leaving an anchorage, wash off both the anchor and chain before stowing.
- Avoid sailing or motoring through water plants and weed if possible
- Check equipment and clothing for live organisms – particularly in areas that are damp or hard to inspect before moving them to a new location.
- The difficulty with the Quagga Mussel is that it produces abundant populations of microscopic (“veliger”) larvae which are invisible to the eye. So soaking equipment and clothing in hot water on site or when you return home as well, will improve the chances of killing larvae and adults.
- Clean all parts of the boat, trailer and equipment that come into contact with the water before leaving.
- When recovering a trailer, dinghy, PWC or RIB, drain water from every part of the boat and all equipment that can hold water.
- Any structures or equipment such as pontoons, piles and buoys which have been submerged in water for a time also pose a higher risk of spreading invasive species and so extra care should be taken when moving or working with them.
- For specific biosecurity guidance follow this link submerged structures.
How to Identify the Quagga Mussel
Quagga mussels are quite similar to zebra mussels, another invasive species which is already widespread in England and Wales.
They are small with a dark brown and light brown stripy shell. They are more rounded than a zebra mussel so when placed on its front it will roll to one side.
Quagga mussels also have an undulating (as opposed to a straighter, horizontal) seam between the shells.
Familiarise yourself with what the Quagga Mussel looks like and follow Check Clean Dry! If you think you may have found a Quagga Mussel, send an email with a photograph and location details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Green Blue is the joint environment initiative created by the British Marine Federation and Royal Yachting Association to encourage a more sustainable recreational boating sector.
Image of Quagga Mussels: David Aldridge Cambridge University