Crayfish: Pest Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Co-National Campaign Coordinator, Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Party Chair, Labour Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to tackle invasive crayfish species in UK rivers.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Policy on non-native crayfish is devolved; the following information is relevant to England and Wales.

We are in the process of eradicating the only known population of white river crayfish in England and Wales, using a natural pyrethrum based biocide. The trapping of crayfish is tightly regulated to prevent deliberate or accidental spread of crayfish. The Environment Agency has been active in instigating research into methods for managing non-native crayfish populations and mitigating their impact on the environment.

On 8 March the Government laid the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order (“the Order”) which applies across England and Wales. The Order is a key part of meeting the requirements of EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation (1143/2014), a core purpose of which is to take concerted action to tackle the threat that invasive species pose to our biodiversity and ecosystems. The Order will introduce an enforcement regime that will include the following non-native invasive crayfish species: signal crayfish, marbled crayfish, virile crayfish, spiny cheeked crayfish, and red swamped crayfish. The Order will introduce both civil and criminal sanctions including both fixed and variable monetary penalties and custodial sentences for the most serious infringements of the EU Regulation.

On 18 July the Government launched a consultation on management measures for widely spread invasive alien species, including the signal crayfish, which closes on 12 September. Under the Invasive Alien Species Regulation, management measures must be put in place for widespread invasive alien species. The consultation asks for views on ways to manage populations of species of concern including for specified invasive crayfish species.

The consultation can be found at

We continue to work with water companies to improve biosecurity measures, including through the Clean, Check, Dry campaign.

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