The Environment Agency has confirmed a case of crayfish plague in the River Leven at Crathorne, near Middlesbrough.
Ecology officers took samples from the river earlier this month after 40 native white-clawed crayfish were found dead along a 700-metre stretch of the watercourse.
Steps are now being taken to prevent the spread of the disease, and the Environment Agency is appealing for help from the public.
Alice Fitch, Environment Agency, Team Leader for Biodiversity and Geomorphology, said:
To help limit the spread of this disease we are asking all river users to please stay out of the River Leven for the remainder of August. This is because plague spores can stay in the water, and on damp footwear and equipment, for up to 28 days. If people, dogs and equipment do enter the water, or spend time around the banksides, please make sure you are extra rigorous with your cleaning as the spores spread easily to other waterbodies through muddy footwear, fishing gear and recreational equipment like canoes.
The Environment Agency would always urge people to ‘Check – Clean – Dry’ their footwear and equipment after spending time in and around watercourses. Anything that has contact with the water and riverbank needs to be cleaned thoroughly after use with warm water and environmentally friendly detergent. Then fully dried for 48 hours to make sure all parasites are killed.
The advice to stay out of the River Leven for the remainder of August also applies to CIEEM members. When planning any in-stream work please be particularly careful with biosecurity precautions.
If you ever need to report anything to the Environment Agency please use our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
Photo credit: Sound Ideas and Environment Agency