A CRAYFISH plague which threatens to wipe out the species in Ireland has reached the River Deel in Rathkeale after its discovery in Tipperary in May.
“Thousands” of dead crayfish have been detected in Rathkeale, and river users are being urged to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the plague.
There is concern that the disease, which is suspected to be the crayfish plague, will reach the main Shannon. While “it is not feasible to close off rivers”, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is requesting a voluntary ban on moving boats and fishing gear to other catchments.
“While the large kill of crayfish looks likely to be the crayfish plague, it has to be confirmed by laboratory analysis,” said a department spokesperson.
Samples are being tested at the Marine Institute Fish Health Unit.
“There is no known risk to humans or pets,” added the spokesperson.
The Department and Inland Fisheries Ireland is urging all river users where crayfish may occur to implement strict cleaning routines.