A party of world-leading invasive species experts will be taking to Barton Broad to find the killer shrimp which is spreading rapidly through the Broads.

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The top scientists, including Cambridge University boffin David Aldridge, will be sharing their views on the possible impact of the voracious predator, dikerogammarus villosus – smaller than a 20p piece – and offering advice on the best way to manage its spread.

Ahead of their visit on Tuesday, the Broads Authority’s senior ecologist, Andrea Kelly, said the shrimp, first discovered in Barton Broad and then in the Rivers Ant and Bure, was continuing its spread.

“It has now been found further up the River Ant at Wayford Bridge,” she said.

The invader is known to kill a range of native species, including other shrimps, damsel flies, young fish and insect larvae, and Ms Kelly confirmed it was now top of the Broads Most Wanted list of invasive species threatening its delicate ecosystem.

She will be discussing with the experts the findings of a new report from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) which looks at ways of controlling species invading from eastern Europe, including the killer shrimp.

She said the problem was partly the result of new canals linking up eastern and western European rivers.

Another such invader expected to reach the Broads soon was the freshwater Quagga mussel.

Ms Kelly said it would be impossible to eliminate the killer shrimp from the Broads and the focus of their efforts was now on controlling its spread.

She praised anglers, especially Norwich and District Pike Club, in promoting the Environment Agency’s Check, Clean, Dry campaign to stop the spread of killer shrimps from fishing gear, clothing and boats.

To step up the battle, a new wetlands biosecurity officer, funded by Defra, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority, would be starting work shortly.

He or she would be working with and advising anglers and businesses on how to contain invasive species.

stephen.pullinger@archant.co.uk

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