Minister Madigan promotes Check, Clean, Dry initiative

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

*Image credits to Maxwell Photography*

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Minister Josepha Madigan promotes ‘Check Clean Dry’ initiative as part of Invasive Species Week

Ahead of the Easter holiday period, and as part of Invasive Species Week, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaelacht Josepha Madigan TD today (Tuesday 27 March) highlighted the importance of water amenity users (such as anglers, canoeists, and walkers) following the ‘Check Clean Dry’ protocol.

The Minister was speaking in advance of a National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), Canoeing Ireland and Wild Water Kayak Club hosted, and Waterways Ireland supported, canoe-wash at Islandbridge, Dublin to illustrate the practical application of the measures.

‘Check Clean Dry’ is a vital biosecurity initiative that is aimed at helping stop the spread of non-native invasive freshwater plants and animals, as water users may unknowingly be helping to spread invasive species from one water body to another in equipment, shoes and clothing.

The campaign urges stakeholders to:

·         Check equipment and clothing for living organisms;

·         Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly;

·         Dry all equipment and clothing.

Speaking ahead of the event at Islandbridge, Minister Madigan said:

I am delighted that today’s event highlights the co-ordination and co-operation between water sports enthusiasts and Government Departments and agencies that is the cornerstone of effective biosecurity measures. It is essential that initiatives such as ‘Check Clean Dry’ are followed so as to ensure that our wonderful natural amenities available nationwide remain accessible and useable to those who wish to use them – not just during the forthcoming Easter holidays, but for future generations also.

Recreational facilities can suffer as a result of invasive species. Fish populations may reduce or change, while invasive plants may restrict navigation through waterways, clog up propellers and add significantly to the management costs of our waterways.

This highlights the fact that as well as the irreplaceable cost to wildlife, the financial costs of invasive species can run into millions of Euro.”

At the event, Canoeing Ireland highlighted the awareness work carried out by their organisation:

“Canoeing Ireland takes its responsibility towards bio security awareness very seriously. For Invasive Species week we have been proactively engaged with our membership encouraging continued vigilance and use of our Check Clean Dry protocols.  Canoeing Ireland would like to take this opportunity to thank its membership and the wider paddlesports community for setting a fine example of responsible use of Ireland’s waterways.”

Waterways Ireland urged those using blue ways and engaging in water-based recreational activity throughout the country to ensure they use the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ protocol:

“Invasive species pose a significant threat to water-based tourism and recreation on the inland waterways. These waterways are crucially important environmental and recreational assets with significant biodiversity value. Invasive alien species seriously threaten these crucially important environments & recreational spaces and impact the socio-economic development of waterfront communities. To help in the fight against invasive species, Waterways Ireland will continue to work closely with interagency groups, recreational bodies and local communities to tackle their spread and to implement biosecurity protocols.”

ENDS

Media Contacts:

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

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Tel: 087 6737338 / (01) 631 3803 / 3807 / 3838 / 3848 / 3909 (direct)

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Notes to editors

Invasive species

Invasive species are species that have been introduced (deliberately or accidentally) by humans and have a negative impact on the economy, wildlife or habitats of the island of Ireland. Our activities are the main cause of the arrival of invasive species. Many species are deliberately released, like species of fish for angling. Others have escaped from our gardens and farms like the American mink and giant rhubarb. Some arrive as hitch hikers and stowaways with imported goods or other species such as the New Zealand flatworm.

The number of high impact invasive alien species introduced into Ireland has increased by 183% from 1961 to 2010. Research carried out in 2013 indicated that the combined estimated annual cost of invasive species on the economies of both Ireland and Northern Ireland is £207,553,528 (€261,517,445), with an estimate of a combined UK and Ireland cost of £2 billion (€2.5 billion).[1]

Since the 17th century invasive species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known. Invasive species can transform the structure and species composition of ecosystems by repressing or excluding native species. Because invasive species are often one of a whole suite of factors affecting particular sites or ecosystems, it is not always easy to determine the proportion of the impact that can be attributed to them.

Information on the management of invasive species is available on the Invasive Species Ireland website, along with materials for use.

Invasive Species Week

Invasive Species Week was launched in 2015 by Northern Ireland’s Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) in association with the United Kingdom’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of invasive non-native species, to encourage members of the public to get involved and active, and to help stop the spread of such species. This is the first year the event is being mirrored in Ireland, with its launch taking place at the British Irish Council (BIC) Environment Ministerial meeting in Dublin on Friday March 23.

Once introduced, control, management and eradication where possible of invasive species can be very difficult and costly; therefore early detection and reactive measures are desirable. In the context of the British Irish Council, Ireland works in conjunction with other member administrations, including at EU level, to aid in co-ordinating a connected and comprehensive approach to invasive species across our islands.

Further information can be found at the #InvasiveWeek and #CheckCleanDryIRL hashtags.