|Park has a predatory ‘alien’ invader|
|News - Climate Change News|
|Thursday, 25 October 2012 10:21|
An alien invader is attacking pond life in Llanelli.
The Environment Agency Wales is taking drastic action to eradicate the highly invasive non-native fish which is threatening the native population in a number of lakes in Llanelli.
Over the next couple of weeks, the Agency will apply a chemical to two lakes at the Millennium Coastal Park in Llanelli, to kill the fish, before removing them from the site.
Lakes will be partially drained and the Agency assisted by park rangers will be conducting fish rescues to remove and protect the native fish such as carp, tench, roach and rudd.
Whilst the chemical is toxic, it will not impact on people, birds or mammals.
County executive board member of leisure services Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “Whilst the nature of this clean up operation is inconvenient it is necessary and we welcome the support and help of the Agency.
“There are many advantages with the carrying out of this operation.
“The lakes as well as being decontaminated of this predatory fish will be cleared of weed making the fishery within the MCP a top attraction for anglers once more.
“There is a major force of anglers who are keen to introduce an academy system to manage the park fishery and once this operation is complete that could well be the way forward.”
Top-mouth gudgeon is a small freshwater fish, indigenous to Asia, which was brought across to Europe accidentally in the 1960’s through the movement and stocking of fish.
It is a highly damaging species of fish which often goes unnoticed due to its small size, but can rapidly populate still water lakes and streams.
In large quantities, these fish can dominate a habitat and food supply consuming the eggs of all species, often leading to a decline in numbers of native fish.
This process of eradication has been proven to be the most effective method of removing the species.
As part of the operation small areas of footpaths within the Millennium Coastal Park will be closed for the duration of the operation. The Agency and Carmarthenshire County Council are asking members of the public to adhere to these closures.
Steve Brown, from Environment Agency Wales said:
“This is the first phase in a wider programme to remove a harmful, damaging invasive species from our waters in Wales.
“Species such as top mouth gudgeon should not be in our rivers and lakes. It’s important that we do what we can now to remove them before they spread further and have a devastating impact on our native fish populations.
“The most common way this species travel across water bodies is by people, so we’d urge anglers to carefully clean, check and dry their equipment after use to help prevent further spread.”
Following the successful removal of top mouth gudgeon at the two lakes at the Millennium Coastal Park, the Agency will implement a larger scale eradication programme at three of the larger lakes within the MCP in the New Year.
There are 23 established populations of top mouth gudegon in England and Wales.
This programme is being delivered in line with the DEFRA and Welsh Government objective to totally eradicate top mouth gudgeon at all of these sites by 2017.
The Environment Agency is the enforcing authority for the Import of Live Fish Act and has a duty to take action to contain, manage and where appropriate, eradicate high risk invasive non-native species.
More information about invasive species please visit www.nonnativespecies.org