Anglers have an important role to play in the prevention and surveillance of not only aquatic invasive species but also some terrestrial invasive species that colonise river banks and coastal habitats. Invasive species impact on the activities of anglers by preventing casting, causing a reduction/extinction of fish species, reduce water quality, alter ecosystem functioning and are also known to prevent access to favoured sites. The protocols identified in this code of practice will also aid anglers in preventing the spread of fish diseases and parasites.

  • Do not introduce non native species: Non native species including species of fish can have a detrimental effect on native and established ecosystems. These species can also have unforeseen effects such as the associated introduction of parasites and diseases.
  • Help stop illegal introductions: Illegally imported fish can introduce disease. If you suspect fish are being illegally imported report it.
  • Do not move fish species or other plant and animal species from one water body to the next.
  • Do not use live bait: Live bait species can become invasive in a waterbody and severely impact on the ecosystems and the fish species dependent on that environment.
  • Do not reuse bait: Bait can pick up parasites and diseases that can easily survive on live or dead bait.
  • Do not interfere with stands of invasive species: Avoid disturbing stands of high impact invasive species (e.g. Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam or giant hogweed (associated with riparian habitats) and Hottentot fig (associated with sand dunes and cliff habitats)) growing along or near sites you visit. These species can impede access to fishing grounds and/or degrade the ecological and amenity value of an area. Always follow these guidelines:
    • Avoid disturbing invasive terrestrial plant species . Small fragments or seeds can easily lead to the development of new colonies. For example, one small fragment of Japanese knotweed when broken off can float down river and lead to new stands establishing in another area.
    • Avoid treating these species without consulting guidance documents. Treating these species without following the correct protocols will not reduce their impact or abundance. Invasive species are very resilient. Please consult guidance documents available to download from this website  for details on how to deal with these and other invasive species effectively.
  • Inspect your gear: Inspect your gear for signs of contamination by plant, animals and grit/dirt. Remove any obvious signs and dispose of in rubbish bin. Drain all water from any piece of equipment that can contain water.
  • Wash all gear thoroughly: Thoroughly clean all gear with warm water where possible. If warm water is not suitable or available use appropriate disinfectants such as household bleach diluted in tap water.
  • Allow equipment to dry thoroughly: Many aquatic species cannot survive for more that a few days when dried out completely but they can survive in damp conditions for longer periods.
  • Reporting all sightings: Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) – Or via the iRecord App.
Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland