Putting the pinch on the Crays

Crayfish being moved from Porter Brook River in Sheffield. Sam Lane, eight, from Greystone with one of the critters
Crayfish being moved from Porter Brook River in Sheffield. Sam Lane, eight, from Greystone with one of the critters
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IT’S a pincer movement with a difference...

An endangered species of crayfish has been removed from a Sheffield stream to give it a better chance of survival.

The native white-clawed crayfish is under attack from a foreign invader – the much larger signal crayfish – which out competes them for food and spreads a devastating form of fatal crayfish plague.

Now a team from the Environment Agency has intervened, rescuing the crayfish and relocating them to a safer, top secret location.

The white-clawed crayfish had to be plucked by hand from Sheffield’s Porter Brook river, in the Fulwood area, which carries one of the most threatened populations in the Yorkshire region.

Their new home, a tributary further up in the Pennine hills above a reservoir, is known as an ‘ark site,’ where the rescued invertebrates have a new chance, away from the dangerous factors that previously threatened them.

Ian Marshall, a biodiversity officer for the Environment Agency said: “The white-clawed crayfish’s new home is physically and biologically remote, giving them the best protection from the crayfish plague which has decimated them.”

The reservoir will act as a barrier, halting the upstream spread of the alien signal crayfish and hopefully providing a safe haven to help the white-clawed crayfish survive.

Ian added: “Once at this secure site the native population should be able to settle and reproduce. The new location should also have less pollution.”