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PE01558: American Signal Crayfish

Rural Affairs

Petitioner: John Thom on behalf of RNBCC Crayfish Committee, Ken Dee Catchment

Status:
Closed

Date Lodged: 19 February 2015

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to amend the existing licencing regime to allow for the commercial trapping of American Signal Crayfish in Scotland.

Petition History:

Summary:

23 February 2015: The Committee took evidence from John Thom. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 23 February 2015

Below: John Thom at the meeting of 23 February 2015

  

28 April 2015: The Committee agreed to invite Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to give evidence at a future date. Link to Official Report 28 April 2015

26 May 2015: The Committee took evidence from Dr Scot Mathieson, Principal Policy Officer (Conservation), Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Professor Colin Bean, Policy and Advice Manager (Freshwater), Scottish Natural Heritage. The Committee agreed to reflect on the evidence heard and the additional information to be provided by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage and consider a paper by the Clerk at a future meeting. Link to Official Report 26 May 2015

22 September 2015: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage. Link to Official Report 22 September 2015

1 December 2015: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage. The Committee also agreed to ask the Scottish Parliament Information Centre to undertake a literature review. Link to Official Report 1 December 2015

9 February 2016: The Committee agreed to close the petition, under Rule 15.7, on the basis that that there appears to be a consensus that allowing the commercial trapping of American signal crayfish, even as a control measure, is likely to lead to expansion of its range. In doing so, the Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Government to highlight the need to monitor American Signal Crayfish populations and develop a solution to the issue. Link to Official Report 9 February 2016     

Written Submissions: 

Supplementary Documents:

Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support a proposition that trapping can ever realistically be expected to eradicate a population of signal crayfish. Furthermore, there is no evidence to support a proposition that trapping can be any more effective in controlling American signal crayfish than attempts to control Japanese knotweed by cutting. The untrapped proportion of a population is broadly analogous to the rhizomes of Japanese knotweed, which it is widely accepted no amount of cutting will control. However, trapping of signal crayfish is not a benign activity, trapping activity is very likely to increase the risk that signal crayfish will be spread to new areas, whether accidentally, deliberately, or recklessly. Hence, there is understandably huge concern amongst game fisheries in Scotland regarding any proposal to trap signal crayfish. Scotland will do well to look south of the border. Trapping in England has certainly incentivised a small and ill-informed minority to deliberately introduce signal crayfish to new areas, such as discovered by EA in the lower Lune catchment (Cumbria) in 2013. Removal activity has also increased the likelihood of incidental releases to new areas, whether by deliberate ill-informed release (such as occurred at Ensor's Pool SAC), dumping of unwanted catch (such as found by EA in the upper Lune catchment (Cumbria) in October 2014, or escapes during live transport from trapping sites (such as reported at Redwell Fishery, Cumbria). At present, I'm afraid, the best that we can do is to minimise the risk that signal crayfish will be introduced to new areas. If there is an answer to this problem, it is most likely to be found by research scientists at the molecular level, and there is likely to be a strong case for additional funding of such research in Scotland.

Paul Bradley

11:27 on 18 Feb 2015

There is no scientific evidence that trapping can be used to control or eradicate Signal Crayfish. Such an exercise would be futile and would increase the likelihood of movements of Crayfish to other catchments

James Hunt

9:00 on 17 Feb 2015

I believe we as a country should be pro-active in preserving native species and indigenous eco systems

Christina Fisher

14:27 on 16 Feb 2015

Francis William Carcas - the petitioner is keen for this petition to be considered by the Public Petitions Committee at its meeting in Dumfries on Monday 23 February. Only one signature is required for a petition to be considered by the Committee, there is no required threshold for support. All petitions are considered on their merits and anyone may make a submission to the Committee.

Moderator

10:44 on 16 Feb 2015

It is absolutely ludicrous that the petitioner has been given only 9 days to get signatures on this petition. It smacks of an intention to dismiss the whole subject on the basis that there is insufficient support for the petition. Unless action is taken this problem is only going to get worse. The American Signal Crayfish is an invasive, non-native species and it is important that it should be at least controlled, but at best eradicated. Given enough time to publicise it, I am confident that the signatures would run into the thousands.

Francis William Carcas

13:54 on 14 Feb 2015

American signal crayfish are ruining the tourism in our area which we rely on. Fishing clubs used to come for weeks keeping our local shops hotels going now its all very minimal . Crayfish are a nenace turns a cheap hobby into a very expensive one

Darrel wilson

15:45 on 12 Feb 2015

Although we know we are fighting a losing battle against the signal crayfish if we do nothing we will achieve nothing.

Neil bromilow

17:35 on 11 Feb 2015

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