Loch Ken drop-in event for North American signal crayfish

  30 June 2014
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is holding a drop-in session on Saturday 5 July, 2014 at the Cross Keys Hotel in New Galloway, to answer questions regarding the issue of North American signal crayfish in Loch Ken.

Representatives from SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage, Galloway Fisheries Trust and Police Scotland will be in attendance at the event between 12-3pm to answer questions and talk to local businesses, residents and regular water users to highlight the threat they pose to other catchments and regions of Dumfries and Galloway.

Signal crayfish are a well-known issue in Loch Ken and questions are often asked about what can and can’t be done to eradicate them or prevent their spread, and the reasons why.

In general, invasive non-native species are the second biggest threat to our native plants and animals after habitat loss – and have an estimated annual cost of £244 million to the Scottish economy through the damage caused to local infrastructure, leisure and tourism, forestry, horticulture and aquaculture. 

The main objective of the event is to provide factual information and an opportunity to talk face to face to the organisations who deal regularly with the issue of signal crayfish. The event will also help to build on the campaign of advice which has been rolled out across the region over the past two months, which encourages all water users to take practical steps to prevent the spread of non-native species between waters that they visit.

Anne Connick, Planning Officer for SEPA’s Catchment Management Initiative, said:

We know that there are strong concerns about the presence of signal crayfish in the area, and feel its important that the local community and other interested parties are provided with accurate information about what can or can’t be done to control populations on Loch Ken and elsewhere.

It is also important however, that we are able to explain the risks that they pose, and the need for us all to help protect other water bodies that are currently unaffected. This event will be an opportunity for people to meet with us, and others who work on this issue across the region, to ask questions and hopefully find out how they can help to reduce the threat that North American signal crayfish pose to Scotland’s water environment.