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Press Release – Water users asked to take measures to prevent spread of Crayfish plague on River Suir

Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs press release issued: Thursday, 18th May 2017

Water users urged to take precautions to limit an outbreak of Crayfish Plague on River Suirdownstream of Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir.


All water users are being urged to take precautions after confirmation of an outbreak of Crayfish Plague on a stretch of the River Suir downstream of Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir. It comes after large numbers of dead freshwater crayfish were reported on the river earlier this month. DNA analysis has now confirmed that the cause of death was crayfish plague.

The kill has only impacted White-clawed Crayfish and other freshwater animals are not affected. This is a characteristic feature of the disease which only infects species of crayfish but causes 100% mortality. All agencies including the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Tipperary County Council will be working to contain the outbreak to this stretch of the River Suir. Given the experience of outbreaks elsewhere, a total kill of the population is expected which will have major consequences for the ecology of the river. Crayfish are very common in the Suir and are important in maintaining its ecology.

Protected White-clawed crayfish (D. Gerke)
Dead White-clawed crayfish in the River Suir (B. Nelson)









Anyone using the river is being urged to observe the ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ protocol once they leave the river and before using it again. This means that all wet gear (boats, clothing and equipment) should be checked for any silt or mud, plant material or animals before being cleaned and finally dried. Disinfectant or hot water (over 40 degrees Celsius) should be used to clean all equipment and this should be followed by a 24 hour drying period.


The drying period is especially important in ensuring that all equipment is clear of infectious organism, including the removal of any water inside the boat. The crayfish plague organism can be carried on wet equipment to new sites and containment of the outbreak is essential to prevent spread to other unaffected populations in Ireland.


This is the second confirmed outbreak of the disease in Ireland following one in County Cavan in 2015. There is no indication of how the disease reached the Suir although a link to the Cavan outbreak is considered unlikely as the disease there appears to have run its course. This outbreak on the River Suir is of great concern as the stretch of river affected is popular with anglers and canoeists.

The White-clawed Crayfish is a globally threatened species and Ireland holds one of the largest surviving population. It is the only freshwater crayfish species found in Ireland and is present in lakes, rivers and streams over much of the island. Throughout its European range, this species has been decimated by the impact of Crayfish Plague which spread to Europe with the introduction of North American species of crayfish. Until 2015, Ireland was considered free of the disease and it remains the only European country without any established non-native crayfish species.

If Crayfish Plague becomes established there is a high probability that the White-clawed

Crayfish, which is currently protected under Irish Law and the EU Habitats Directive, will be eliminated from much of Ireland. If non-native crayfish are found to be established in Ireland, this could have a severe impact on habitats as they can destabilise canal and river banks by burrowing. It could also impact other freshwater species, such as salmon and trout fisheries. At this time however, there is no evidence that non-native freshwater crayfish have been introduced in this country.

The public are asked to follow the ‘Check, Clean and Dry’ protocol when using the river and to alert the authorities of any mass mortality of crayfish as well as sightings of unusual crayfish (e.g. red claws, large size).  by emailing Colette O’Flynn (  at the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford.

For further media information:

Brian Nelson – T: 087 967 9937; E:

Ciaran O’Keeffe T: 087 2646416) E:

Notes to Editors:

  • Anyone who sees any dead or dying crayfish should report this to National Parks and Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Tipperary County Council or Colette O’Flynn at the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford (email:
  • Members of the public who suspect they have seen a non-native species of crayfish are asked to take a picture of it showing the underside of the claws and submit this through this web page direct to Colette O’Flynn (email: Phone: 051 306248
  • White-clawed Crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes: This occurs throughout Ireland mainly but not exclusively in areas of limestone geology. It lives in a very broad range of freshwater from tiny streams and ditches to many small, medium and large lakes. The species is a generalist feeder and it in turn is a significant prey item of the Otter.
  • Crayfish Plague is caused by a fungus-like organism Aphanomyces astaci which is of North American origin but now occurs throughout Europe. The Crayfish Plague organism (technically an Oomycete and often called water moulds) normally grows on the outer shell of crayfish and as North American crayfish are generally immune to it, as they can prevent any infection reaching their body tissues. However, when the water mould infects White-clawed and other European crayfish, it rapidly, and fatally, spreads into the body tissues. Infected animals become distressed and behave abnormally and may survive several weeks before dying.
  • Non-indigenous Crayfish: These are any species which are not native to the country. Many crayfish species have been moved within Europe and into Europe from North America and Australia. The most significant of these is the North American Signal Crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus which is one of the main carriers of Crayfish Plague. This species is much larger than the White-clawed Crayfish and with distinctive red coloration on the underside of the claws.

TDU AGM – 6th May – UL Limerick

Notice is given for the the training and development unit agm for the 6th of may in the university of limerick. This will be run in conjunction with a rolling cpd.

Motions and nominations need to be in by the 22nd of April to motions and nominations need to be proposed and seconded by current tdu members.


Kieran Mckevitt

Secretary training and development unit

Clonmel Slalom course – water gauge

Details on the levels for the Clonmel Slalom course

0.7 as the optimum height for the course.

0.8-0.9 gives a punchier wave on the weir and fatter eddies for teaching the top end of level 3 skills.

Above 0.9 the course starts to flush out and you get a decent flow of water going down the course.

Clonmel River Guage

Canoeing Ireland Training Centre Staff Panel 2017

Canoeing Ireland Training Centre are looking for fun, enthusiastic and eager instructors to work  over the summer months in Strawberry Beds, Chapelizod.

We will be running courses from Summer camps to Adult skills so plenty of opportunity to work, log hours and gain valuable experience.

Any queries on these positions can be forwarded on to

If you would like to be put on the panel for work for the 2017 season, please click on the link below:

Please forward this on to  anyone from the greater Dublin area who you think would be interested in the work.


Canoeing Ireland,


Irish Crews invade the land of Shaka Zulu – Extreme Canoe Marathon.

The 16th February 2017 saw the start of the legendary DUSI Canoe Marathon, which took place over three days and 125km of river and bush portages through the magnificent Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu Natal Provence, South Africa. The idea of racing down the uMsundusi and uMngeni Rivers was born during World War II when Dr. Ian Player, sitting with friends around an army campfire in Italy, proposed the idea of travelling by kayak from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. After an initial expedition was abandoned halfway in 1950, eight paddlers set off from Alexandra Park on 22 December 1951. Six days, 8 hours and 15 minute later, Dr. Player was the only paddler to finish, having survived two days of low rivers, a flash flood and a bite from a night adder. Ref: This unique race has taken place every year since and is now the subject to a movie ‘Beyond the River’, to be released in April 2017.

Read more

Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills

Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills

General aims

  • The Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Award aims to enable participants to
    • To prepare the candidate for sprint and marathon racing competition and prepare for high performance racing on flat water or rivers where there are obstacles.
    • Controlling the speed of the boat whilst paddling over a race distance.
    • Foster further participation in sprint and marathon competitions.




  • Candidates must hold a minimum of Level 2 Skills Award.
  • Candidates must have competed in a minimum of 3 sprint or marathon races.




  • The assessment should be taken in a single racing boat which has sufficient buoyancy to remain afloat in a capsize
  • BOAT – Single K1/C1 Racing boat
  • PADDLES – for canoe: Flat paddle / for kayak: Wing paddle.




·         Sprint 50m from a standing start, increasing speed throughout

  • Demonstrate positive balance and trim over 100m
  • Demonstrate balance by various exercises
  • Paddle 1000m in a straight line, turn and paddle back
  • Demonstrate the ability to wash-hang
  • Turning, demonstrate the ability to turn 180 degrees using the rudder
  • Demonstrate ability to start a simple race of 4 boats



  • Capsize and swim to the bank with all equipment
  • Assist a swimmer to the bank
  • Assist in retrieving a swimmer’s boat



Demonstrate a basic level of the following physiological principles as they affect novice competitors[1]

  • Components of fitness
  • Principles of Training
  • Energy Systems
  • Warm-up / Cool Down
  • Injury prevention and recovery
  • Nutrition and the use of complementary performance enhancing supplements for paddlesport
  • Strength Training and Conditioning


  • All techniques, skills and rescues must be demonstrated to an assessor’s satisfaction in order to achieve this award.
  • No part of an assessment can be taken in a swimming pool. All assessment criteria must be demonstrated outdoors on water of Grade 1 difficulty.
  • Generally, required assessment rescues will be kept until the end of an assessment.

Assessment Guidelines

  • It is recommended that a Level 3 Flat-water Racing Skills Award is assessed by a coach other than the coach who normally trains the candidate leading to assessment
  • The Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Award can only be assessed by a currently registered Canoeing Ireland Level 2 Flatwater Coach.
  • The assessment will be carried out with a maximum of four candidates to one assessor.
  • Generally guidelines will be given, should a candidate fail an assessment, as to the areas that they need to improve on.

Notes for Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Awards


Safety Rules of Canoeing

  1. You must be able to swim.
  2. You must always wear a buoyancy aid.
  3. You must always ensure that there is adequate kayak buoyancy.
  4. You must never canoe alone.


Entry and Exit

Can be carried out with or without the use of paddles, depending on what is most appropriate to the situation.

If a spray deck is used it must be fitted

Balance Exercises

The following are examples of exercises to demonstrate balance and should be carried out without capsizing

  • Paddle with the feet in the water.
  • Throw the paddle in front of the kayak: kayak and paddle with the hands to the paddle, continue paddling and repeat at least three times.
  • Paddle with the paddle upside down.
  • Paddle with the hands – forward, backwards and sideways.
  • Paddle with straight arms.
  • Paddle with closed eyes.


  • The turn should demonstrate good use of the rudder.
  • The turn should be completed without breaking the normal forward stroke in a turn with a radius of about 20m.


Starter Duties

  • Identify the best place for the starter to be positioned and have a good mark to decide on false starts.
  • Line up 4 paddlers at the start of a race.
  • Take responsibility for decisions about false starts.
  • Able to give right orders to start the race as indicated by the assessor.


  • The candidate should maintain paddling rhythm
  • The candidate should maintain the appropriate distance from the other boat
  • Wash-hanging should take place on both sides of the boat

[1] Novice Competitor A paddler who is at a minimum Level 2 performance standard and is beginning to participate in competition.


Engaging Citizen Science – UCD Reconnect Project

A new project at University College Dublin (Reconnect) is trying to create an inventory of barriers to fish migration (weirs, culverts, waterfalls, bridge aprons) in Irish rivers.The project has used historic maps and satellite imagery to locate a number of barriers, but what is really needed is active river users on the ground helping out.

Read more

Canoeing Ireland Training Centre appearing on RTEJr

Keep an eye out on the tv show “Rocketeers” on RTEJr for the Canoeing Ireland Training centre and one of our instructors, Dave Holden who appear in the “How come we don’t fall off the earth?” episode.

For the timetable of the episodes, see below:

Hello Rocketeers,

As part of space week RTE jr are releasing five episodes of Rocketeers a little early. They will be available to view on their app from tomorrow onwards.

Episode 3: How come we don’t fall off the Earth?

Episode 5: Why is the Sun so important?

Episode 7: What does it feel like in Space?

Episode 8: How do I get to Space?

Episode 10: What do we look like from Space?


Irish Freestyle Canoeing Workshops

Irish Freestyle Canoeing Workshops

On 22nd/23rd of October 2016 Lennart Bal, NL & Adventure Gently are running the very first Irish Freestyle workshop at Boat Quay House, Dromahair, Co. Leitrim. For more information see poster below or please contact: Read more