Wildlife warning as 'killer shrimp' discovered in the Broads
- Credit: Environment Agency
An invasive "killer shrimp" which could threaten Norfolk's fragile wetland wildlife has been discovered in the Trinity Broads near Great Yarmouth.
The non-native species is named due to its voracious eating habits, preying on native creatures including damselflies, water boatmen and native freshwater shrimp. Growing to 3cm long, adults will also feed on fish eggs and fry, potentially damaging fish stocks.
Norfolk Wildlife Trust confirmed the species has been found in Rollesby Broad and Ormesby Broad, but says there is an opportunity to stop it reaching Ormesby Little Broad and Filby Broad.
The trust has issued an urgent plea for boaters, anglers and tourists to help stop the creatures spreading further by cleaning their boats, equipment and clothing before and after visiting any water body.
Eilish Rothney, Trinity Broads warden, said: "This non-native species could have a profound effect on the ecology of the Trinity Broads lakes.
“As the Trinity Broads is a lake system separate from the main Broads, it is likely that killer shrimp has arrived by recreational activity.
"We are working with our stakeholders at present to reduce or prevent any boat movements between the infected area and the rest of the system.
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“We have been greatly encouraged by the willingness of the boaters and anglers to work with us on this.
"So this is a huge appeal to the public: If you take part in any water activities you must check clean and dry all you boats, equipment and clothing before and after visiting any water body.”
The Trinity Broads, which make up 14pc of the open water within the Broads, are owned by Essex and Suffolk Water and managed in partnership with Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Broads Authority, Natural England and Environment Agency.
Helen Jacobs, senior conservation advisor at Essex and Suffolk Water, said: “Identifying, and where possible managing, invasive non-native species such as this killer shrimp is a key aim for us.
"We are working with partners and investing in facilities to try and prevent the further spread of this damaging species.”
The killer shrimp, which arrived in the UK from Europe in 2010, was previously found in Barton Broad in 2012, when it spread along the River Ant and into Wroxham Broad.