Check, Clean and Dry to protect our waters from pests and diseases

As the new fishing season gets underway, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is encouraging recreational users of the nation’s rivers and waterways to play their part in helping tackle the spread of water-borne pests and diseases.

The "Check, Clean, Dry" campaign aims at educating regular water users about the way in which aquatic plants and animals can unwittingly be transported by equipment, such as kayaks and fishing gear and threaten Wales’ delicate water environment.

And as Wales moves from the stay home to stay local coronavirus restrictions, NRW is urging people planning to visit the nation’s rivers over the coming weeks to help protect these special places by following some simple steps.

Pete Gough, Principal Fisheries Advisor for NRW explained:

“Invasive plants and animals from all over the world have been accidently introduced to Welsh waters over the years, causing serious environmental problems as well as preventing people carrying out their water-related activities.
“We are urging anglers, boaters and canoeists to practice ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ techniques to help stop the spread of invasive non-native species (INNS) in our waters by ensuring their tackle, clothes and craft are free from aquatic animals and plant debris after use.”

 ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ Guidance states:

  • CHECK: Check your equipment, boat and clothing after leaving the water for mud, aquatic animals or plant material. Remove everything that you find and leave it at the site.
  • CLEAN: Clean everything thoroughly as soon as you can, paying attention to areas that are damp or hard to access. Use hot water if possible.
  • DRY: Dry everything for as long as you can before using elsewhere as some invasive animals and plants can survive for more than two weeks in damp conditions.

Pete added:

“By following the’ Check, Clean and Dry’ guidance we can help to significantly reduce the risk of spreading unwanted species and disease across Wales’ waterways.
“The simple act of transporting one plant or animal fragment to another area can have a devastating impact on our native plants and animals. This in turn can have an adverse effect on tourism, recreation and businesses which rely on the affected waters.
“Once a non-native species reaches a new location it can be difficult, and sometimes impossible to eradicate. Prevention really is the best way to protect our natural environment for generations to come.”

To find out more about  ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ please visit the Non-Native Species Secretariat website at Check, Clean, Dry - GB non-native species secretariat and for more information on preventing the spread of fish disease visit NRW’s website