Slippery slope for a loch's crayfish pests
EUROPEAN eels may be brought in to help curb the American signal crayfish menace in a Scottish loch.
Millions of the crayfish are devastating fish stocks in Loch Ken, near Castle Douglas in Galloway. Last year, around a million crayfish were destroyed but this barely skimmed the surface of the problem.
The cull was financed by the Scottish Government in a bid to save the tourist industry in the area which relies heavily on angling. Now European eels, a natural predator to young crayfish, could be introduced to the loch.
Anglers have deserted the area and economic regeneration director Tony Fitzpatrisaid: "There are currently no feasible chemical or biological control options that will eradicate these crayfish."
Earlier this year, a Northern Ireland firm said they could help the fight by using electric shocks to kill the crayfish.
Now the Galloway Fisheries Trust and ScottishPower, which runs a huge hydro-electric scheme with six dams through the area, have drawn up plans to help introduce the European eel into the loch.
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