Invasive non-native species can damage boating equipment, block water treatment systems and harm native habitats.
As recreational boaters, there are a number of actions that we can take to minimise the risk of introducing or spreading invasive non-native species around Great Britain.
Biosecurity requirements Anglian Water has agreed biosecurity requirements for their waters with Defra under the Waterparks Byelaws 2014, which came into force earlier this year.
Recreational boaters must comply with these rules or they could face a fine of up to £500 for each offence, although it is a defence to show that they "took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence" or otherwise had a "reasonable excuse" for committing the offence.
Check, clean, dry Check, Clean, Dry is the best way to protect both your stretch of water and others around the country from invasive non-native species.
Check boats, equipment and clothing for living plants and animals. Pay particular attention to areas that are damp or hard to inspect.
Clean and wash all equipment, thoroughly with freshwater and anti-foul boats annually. Remove visible fouling and put in the bin, not back in the water.
Dry responsibly! When recovering a boat, trailer, dinghy, Personal Water Craft or RIB, drain water from every part and all equipment that can hold water, including any water that collects in bilges, before leaving the site.
Sailing and watersportsAnglian Water Byelaw 17.2 states that no boat shall enter a Water Park with the intention of launching onto the water without complying with current agreed biosecurity guidance. Boats must be checked, cleaned and fully dried before arriving at the Water Park and visiting boats must sign in at the point of access to confirm this process has been carried out before arriving at the park.
Am I affected? The Byelaw affects the following sites, which offer a mix of facilities including boating, fishing and bird watching:
The new byelaw affects those based at these locations and anyone visiting these locations, including for competitions.
More information For further information on invasive non-native species go to: www.rya.org.uk/go/alienspecies. The Anglian Water byelaws can be found at: http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/leisure/water-parks/water-parks-byelaws.aspx Advice on boating best practice can be found on The Green Blue website at www.thegreenblue.org.uk.
Following the discovery of an invasive species of shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) at Pitsford Water Reservoir in July 2015, Hollowell Sailing Club has reviewed the existing biosecurity measures and sets out the following requirements of members and visitors at Hollowell Reservoir.
Application forms will be received by those supervising the open meetings and kept on file for a period of no less than twelve months thereafter. Responsibility for processing and filing the forms will rest with the relevant open meeting Fleet Captain.
On site signage and information Anglian Water is responsible for ensuring permanent signage is and remains in place regarding biosecurity at Hollowell reservoir. Hollowell Sailing Club will promote check, clean, dry procedures regularly to its members and visitors by posting notices on club notice boards, website and in other correspondence with members. Responsibility for promoting procedures will rest with the Web Master, the Membership Secretary and any other Committee Members as are relevant.
Wash down procedures Members’ craft which do not leave the site are not required to wash down before or after entering the water. Hollowell Sailing Club will provide a wash down facility away from the shore in the form of a stand pipe and hose.
Self-regulation by members With immediate effect members are required to self-regulate the wash down procedure and endeavour to take all possible practical measures to prevent the spread of invasive species.
Members will be required to sign a declaration in their membership application form or membership renewal form to confirm their agreement to do so before their membership is approved.
Responsibility for processing and filing the membership application forms will rest with the Membership Secretary
The national rat population is increasing and between 50 and 60% of rats carry and excrete the bacterium Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae in their urine.
If your club operates in freshwater then it is important that your members are aware of the risks of Leptospirosis and Weil's Disease. Leptospira bacteria are often carried by rats and excreted in their urine thus contaminating water and muddy soil. The bacteria can enter the human body through cuts, grazes, mouth or mucous membranes such as those which line the nose and ears.
Infection with the bacterium causes an illness which has similar symptoms to flu – temperature, muscle aches and nausea. In mild cases these symptoms can be easily treated and patients will likely recover in a few weeks. In England and Wales an average of 40 cases of Leptospirosis are reported each year however very few of these go on to develop the more serious Weil’s Disease which can be fatal; Since 1996, there have only been four deaths from Weil’s Disease.
Although most cases of Leptospirosis are mild it is important that water users are aware of the risks and can recognise the symptoms. Sailors, boardsailors, canoeists, oarsmen, swimmers and fishermen are at risk in any area with a population of rats. Any skin wound or blister, old or new, may be infected if immersed in water polluted with the bacteria.
If you start to feel ill after coming into contact with water that could be contaminated with Leptospira then the best approach is to consult your doctor. It is vital that the doctor be told of any waterborne activity you have been involved in as the symptoms are easily confused with those of flu and if you have an otherwise ‘clean occupation’ the possibility of Weil’s Disease may be overlooked in the early stages
The Quagga Mussel presents a serious biofouling risk by blocking pipes, smothering boat hulls and other structures 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.
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 On land 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.
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.
Stay Alert! 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