The shrimp, Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, which is a relative of the ‘killer shrimp’, has been found on the River Severn at Tewkesbury and Bevere near Worcester.
It has also been found on two canals in Worcestershire. This is the first time this non-native shrimp, which has been shown to be invasive on mainland Europe, has been found in this country.
The shrimp was found after samples were taken from the River Severn by APEM for Severn Trent Water. Experts were then able to conclusively identify the species as Dikerogammarus haemobaphes.
Shortly after, other populations were discovered on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. The sites are spread over a distance of approximately 38 kilometres.
Related to the ‘killer shrimp’
While this new invasive shrimp species is related to the ‘killer shrimp’, the Environment Agency (EA) is uncertain at this stage what its impact might be.
Until they have better information they will, as a precaution, treat it as a high impact species. An immediate assessment of the risks of this shrimp has been commissioned.
The EA has a dedicated team in place to establish how far the shrimp has spread along the river and canal network. The local response is also being supported by a National Task Group involving staff from Defra, Welsh Government and expert advisors from the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales.
Help to prevent it spreading
The Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust are urging all water users to help slow the spread of this invasive species. All water users should check, clean and dry all their equipment after use, before using it at another location.
Boat users must be particularly careful to ensure that boats and kayaks are drained, cleaned and dried. Boat trailers must also be thoroughly cleaned after use.
Check equipment and clothing for live organisms - particularly in areas that are damp or hard to inspect before moving to a new location.
Clean all equipment, footwear and clothing thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them.
Dry all equipment and clothing - some species can live for many days in moist conditions. Make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere.
Read more information on preventing the spread of non-native species.
If you think you have seen an unusual shrimp, please email a photograph to firstname.lastname@example.org for identification.