A dangerous shrimp that could decimate British waterways has been found in the UK. The killer crustacean - branded a 'voracious predator' by the Environment Agency has been found in the Worcester and Birmingham canal following previous sighting in the River Severn. It arrived in the UK from Eastern Europe, and feeds on fish, sparking fears it could dramatically change the UK's delicate marine ecosystem.
© Environmental Agency
Public enemy number one: The 'killer shrimp' that could decimate Britain's waterways. The Environment Agency today issued a high alert warning people to look out for it.
According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the killer shrimp is 'a voracious predator' that 'kills a range of native species, including young fish, and can significantly alter ecosystems'.
Regarding its cousin, the Environment Agency says it is 'uncertain at this stage what its impact might be'.
Experts have scrambled a team of investigators dedicated to tracking the shrimps' movements and how quickly they are spreading throughout the country.
The Environment Agency's Area Manager for Worcs, David Throup, said; 'We are concerned that this invasive species has been found in the Midlands.
'We now have a dedicated team whose focus is to establish the degree of the problem, and whether the shrimp has spread wider than the locations already found.
'We are treating this as a priority so that we can come up with a plan to help contain its spread as far as possible.'
The alien shrimp - proper name Dikerogammarus haemobaphes
- is a relative of a non-native species that has migrated from Eastern Europe.
The new shrimp was first discovered in the River Severn but has now been found in two canals, showing the creature has spread over a distance of more than 20 miles.
Anglers and other users of Midlands waterways are being urged to check, clean and dry all their equipment after use, especially nets, and to drain, clean and dry boats and kayaks.
The new shrimp was first found after samples were taken from the River Severn by Severn Trent Water near Worcester, but has since been found in two canals, showing the creature had spread over a distance of more than 20 miles.
This is the first time the shrimp has been found in the UK.