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Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19th October 2012.

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Photo of Glyn Davies Glyn Davies Conservative, Montgomeryshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(1) what assessment his Department has made of how the invasive shrimp, Dikerogammarus villosus, was imported into the UK;

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the environment of the spread within the UK of the invasive shrimp Dikerogammarus villosus;

(3) what steps his Department is taking to control the spread within the UK of the invasive shrimp, Dikerogammarus villosus.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The four locations in which Dikerogammarus villosus has been recorded are all used for various types of water sports (including angling) so it is possible that the shrimp was introduced among wet equipment (e.g. boats, wet-suits, nets) that had been used previously in mainland Europe where the shrimp occurs.

A risk assessment for Dikerogammarus villosus commissioned by DEFRA, concluded that the risk from this species is very high. This is based on the fact that the ecological impacts experienced in areas of Europe that the shrimp has colonised have been very large and dramatic; the species has already established large viable populations here; that Britain is climatically similar to many of the places in Europe that the shrimp has invaded; and that the interconnectivity of the water network will facilitate rapid spread.

At the four locations where Dikerogammarus villosus has been recorded, the routes by which the shrimp might escape from the sites have been assessed and a range of control measures have been put in place. Additionally, in partnership with a number of interested organisations, DEFRA is trying to slow the spread of Dikerogammarus villosus by ensuring that all equipment and clothing that is used in water sports is checked, cleaned and dried before it is used elsewhere. Information on the “Check, Clean, Dry” campaign and associated guidance is published on the Non-native Species Secretariat website.

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