I’m an ecology PhD student at the University of Leeds and as part of my research I’m investigating the impacts of aquatic invasive species in the UK. Animals such as North American signal crayfish, zebra mussels and killer shrimp and plants such as floating pennywort are spreading through our waterways having been accidentally introduced from other countries. Species such as these can cause serious damage to river banks and water pipes and are responsible for dramatic declines of our native flora and fauna.
In the absence of any other form of control, the only way we can reduce the impact of these invasive species as well as diseases that they may introduce, such as crayfish plague and koi herpevirus, is to ensure that we do all we can to prevent their further spread. Disease organisms and invasive species in their smaller juvenile stages may be accidentally spread between waterbodies on boats, vehicles, clothing and fishing equipment. We are seeking your help to try and get a better understanding of current fishing practices so we can identify possible ways to prevent their spread.
We are therefore distributing questionnaires to anglers as well as canoeists and kayakers to find out more about the rivers that they are visiting and the kit that they are using at each site. This will enable us to see whether there are any areas where the risks from invasive species are likely to be greatest so that awareness campaigns and preventive measures can be targeted to those areas to prevent future outbreaks.
The questionnaire is here: http://www.survey.leeds.ac.uk/anglersurvey I’d be very grateful if you could email the link to the questionnaire around your trust members. The questionnaire takes 5 – 10 minutes to complete and all answers are completely anonymous. Everyone who completes the survey is given the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a £50 voucher for AnglingDirect online tackle shop.
Please let me know if you’d be willing to help with this. If you require any further information from me, please do not hesitate to ask.