Fishermen, anglers and river keepers have joined forces with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to raise awareness about invasive non-native species in the New Forest’s waterways.
More than 30 people met for a training session led by the New Forest Non-Native Plants Project.
Hosted by the Wildlife Trust, the project aims to stop the spread of invasive non-native species in the New Forest area, particularly along rivers and in wetland habitats.
The event, held at the Wildlife Trust’s Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve in Totton, highlighted the problems caused by invasive non-native species, particularly aquatic plants such as creeping water primrose, parrot’s feather and floating pennywort. For example floating pennywort can grow an amazing 20cm per day, choking watercourses and blocking out the light, with serious consequences for fish and other wildlife.
Catherine Chatters of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said “Anglers and fishermen play a vital role in helping to stop the spread of invasive non-native pants and invertebrates, by being able to recognise invasive species and taking action to control them”.
The event, which was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the New Forest ‘Our Past, Our Future’ Landscape Partnership Scheme, emphasised the importance of biosecurity, to reduce the risk of spreading invasive species and diseases.
Jo Gore of the Wildlife Trust said “It’s really important that people clean their fishing tackle thoroughly and follow three simple steps - ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ – so they don’t unwittingly spread non-native invertebrates, diseases or fragments of invasive plants to other watercourses."
Jo and Catherine are encouraging fishermen, anglers and other people such as sailors and canoeists who enjoy water-based pursuits to install ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ signs and to spread the biosecurity message during national Invasive Species Week which starts on March 27.
If you belong to an angling or boating club and would like to find out more about the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ campaign, please contact Jo at Joanne.Gore@hiwwt.org.uk