The white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes or WCCs are protected in the UK through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) under schedule 5 where both the taking S.9(1) and the sale S.9(5) is illegal. They are also protected under European law in the Bern convention 1979 as an Appendix III species. UK Distribution is wide, and includes sporadic sites across Southern, Eastern and South-Western England with higher densities in the Midlands, Northern England, Northern Ireland and South-Eastern Wales.
Within the UK, WCCs major threat is that of introduced species. Currently there are six known introduced crayfish within the United Kingdom with two additional species potentially at large due to their current presence in the pet trade. In addition to interspecific competition, four of the introduced species, are known to carry crayfish plague (CP) Aphanomyces astaci.
The most notorious carrier is the signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus thought to have arrived in the UK from North America via Sweden as a result of the 1960s/70s fish trade . Signal crayfish can now be found throughout the United Kingdom in relatively high numbers and is having a major impact on our native white-clawed.
At NatureMetrics, one of our current projects under R&D is testing and developing assays for the detection of both crayfish and crayfish plague. Here you can see our first attempts to identify these from tissue, swab and eDNA samples. From the graphs shown above, you can see we have made great progress in advancing these assays with evidence demonstrating that we can identify both signal crayfish (top image) and crayfish plague (bottom image) from all sample types.
We hope to eventually make these tests available to our customers, so WATCH THIS SPACE!
At NatureMetrics our priority is the wellbeing and safety of our staff, as well as providing a high-quality service to our customers. We would like to reassure you that NatureMetrics is open for business and we are taking steps to ensure your kits are delivered and samples processed in a ‘business as usual’ manner, to help you minimise impacts on your clients and projects.
We are continuing to follow and monitor official guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England carefully and will keep you updated as the situation progresses, but here is what we are doing right now:
Our ordering portal is open, we are accepting orders and our team is available to take your calls or enquiries by phone on 02038767350, via email at email@example.com, and existing customers can place orders on our ordering portal at my.naturemetrics.co.uk
We’re stocked up and have everything we need to process thousands of your samples.
Our team of fantastic lab staff are working safely in the lab and all other staff are fully connected and working at home.
Our labs are constantly being cleaned and maintained and we always have a person responsible for HSE on-site to support our lab staff.
We’re working closely with our fulfilment centre to make sure they are ready to dispatch your orders. Alongside making sure their staff are safe, they have regular deep cleans of their premises, are maintaining a clean environment and will be wearing gloves, as usual, to put your kits together.
We still offer a next day delivery option for all our kits in the UK and are in close communication with our courier partners to ensure this service is maintained