Catchment News

Crayfish Plague spreading in our river catchments

Crayfish Plague is now confirmed to be in the River Nore catchment at Kilkenny City. It has previously been found in the Barrow and Suir catchments along with a further five catchments across the country.

The disease can wipe out the population of our native White Clawed Crayfish (a protected species) very quickly once a stream or river is contaminated with it.

The disease organism (a water-mould) is microscopic and invisible to the naked eye and is only viable in water.

Crayfish affected with the disease have a 100% mortality rate.

All river water users should take measures to ensure that they do not unknowingly spread the plague to other rivers and streams. It is transferred by using equipment (angling equipment, water-sampling equipment, boats, wetsuits etc.) in a plague infested area and then moving that equipment to an uninfected area while still wet.

The single most effective action to reduce the spread of the disease is to use the Check, Clean, Dry protocol. This should be done routinely after entering a stream or river.

CHECK, CLEAN and allow all equipment to thoroughly DRY-out, then dry for a further 48 hours.

If drying out equipment is not feasible, then equipment should be


Power Steam washed at a suitably high temperature (at least above 65 degrees).


Disinfected using an approved disinfectant such as Milton (follow product label), Virkon Aquatic (3mg/L), Proxitane (30mg/L) or an iodine-based product for 15 minutes. Items difficult to soak can be sprayed or wiped down with disinfectant. Engine coolant water or residual water in boats/kayaks should be drained and where possible flushed out with disinfectant.

Please be aware of the locations of the plague and avoid entering water unless necessary. If you do enter water, please ensure that you take the correct action to prevent the spread of the disease.

Learn more:

Further information is available from the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.