Investigating Husbandry Techniques for the Culture of the White Clawed Crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes

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1 Investigating Husbandry Techniques for the Culture of the White Clawed Crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes Oliver Brown Fish Culture Officer October 2013

2 Status The population of white-clawed crayfish in the British Isles represents the greatest concentration of the species in Europe The U.K. Biodiversity Action Plan lists the species as a priority, with a Species Action Plan prepared to promote its survival. Listed as protected in Appendix III of the Bern convention, controlling exploitation and harvesting. Also in Appendix V of the European Habitats Directive requiring the designation of special areas of conservation for its protection. The species is further protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). In 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature elevated the species status from threatened to Endangered.

3 Status Rogers and Watson 2010

4 Threats Signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus Photo by Sue Scott (Holdich 2003

5 Threats The signal is larger, grows faster, is more fecund, more aggressive and has wider environmental tolerances (Bubb et al. 2006; Holdich 2003). Aside from the ability of the signal crayfish to predate upon and out-compete the white-clawed, the species can also act as a vector for the crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci Schikora) (Edgerton et al. 2004; Holdich 2003). Investigations into the cause of mortality in European crayfish has led to the finding of numbers of other potential pathogens including protozoans, bacteria, fungi and other fungi like agents (Edgerton et al. 2004).

6 Threats Habitat Degradation Siltation Pollution Photographs by Stephanie Peay (Holdich 2003)

7 Irfon Historical Crayfish Distribution Dr. Fred Slater 2010

8 Irfon Special Area of Conservation project objectives ACTION A.4: The identification of priority sub-catchments of the Irfon SAC for the re-introduction of White clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes. ACTION C.4: Re-introduction of the White clawed crayfish into designated streams within the Irfon catchment.

9 Irfon 2010 Crayfish Distribution Base line surveys conducted in 2010 found that the range of the native White-clawed crayfish was much smaller than originally thought. Originally intended to catch crayfish from streams that had healthy populations and translocate to those without survey found that the Irfon s crayfish were only just hanging on' with populations remaining at only 4 of the 60 sites surveyed. Dr. Fred Slater 2010

10 Crayfish Culture Recirculation system designed and installed 2010/2011. Water was sourced from a borehole supply with <5 % exchanged daily. Temperature maintained between 11 0 C and 13 0 C through the use of a heater/chiller system. Ultra violet filtration was used to preserve water quality and reduce the prevalence of pathogens within the holding facility.

11 Crayfish Culture Suitable donor populations identified. Egg laden females caught, transported and maintained successfully in captive conditions. Artificial and maternal incubation trialled. Juveniles successfully produced for reintroduction.

12 Crayfish Culture

13 Problems Hydra (Cnidaria Spp.), thought to be Hydra viridis

14 Success? 530 juveniles released Chwefru juveniles released predicted for release 2014

15 Thank you for listening

16 Captive Breeding and Juvenile Culture of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera), restoration of a critically endangered species. Dr. John Taylor, Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Specialist, Natural Resources Wales Cynrig Hatchery, Llanfryanch, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7AX

17 What s so special about the FWPM? Bivalve mollusc, filter feeder Lives up to 150 years of age Parasite on the gills of juvenile salmonids Produces up to 3 million glochidia per year Survival in the wild is %

18 Life cycle (Hastie and Young 2000) August - spatting Juvenile mussels drop off the gills in early summer and begin life in the gravel Glochidia latch onto and encyst in gill tissue of salmonids

19 Population status IUCN red list, critically endangered Priority 1 species on UK BAPS EC Habitats Directive, Annexe II Functionally extinct in Wales Reasons for decline: River engineering, diffuse pollution, siltation, eutrophication, poaching for pearls and...lack of host = juvenile salmonids!!!!!

20 Project objectives 1. Establish population base line and age structure 2. Take representative sample of adults into captivity 3. Successfully breed adults in captivity 4. Achieve high encystment levels on preferred host 5. Culture juveniles in captivity 6. Release juveniles back to suitable areas of the Irfon

21 Population survey 500 adult mussels found in lower 5KM of the Irfon (2 nd best population in Wales)

22 Collecting adult mussesl and broodstock unit Cynrig Hatchery

23 Glochidia encystment - August Glochidia encystment vs gill position 300 No Encystsed Glochidia Gill arch Left Gill Right Gill

24 Excystment juvenile collection (June/July) No Mussels Wye Mussel Excystment Days 2400 degree days from encystment to drop off 50-70% of encysted glochidia drop off as immature 30-50% of excysted juveniles appear to be non-viable

25 Juvenile FWPM Culture trials

26 Juvenile growth and survival Mean juvenile shell lengths 2011 gravel Re-circulation system - Good survival to 3 months, zero survival after 6 months Seminatural system -? Check in 3-4 years time

27 Conclusions The Irfon FWPM population is probably non-viable and shows no signs of recruitment in the last 50 years Old Irfon FWPM can successfully breed in captivity Glochidial encystment period is predictable at 2400 degree days High levels of encystment on brown trout juveniles can be achieved without harm to the fish host High numbers of juveniles can be collected and silt appears to be important in their growth Initial growth is rapid but in all systems survival is very low. BUT!!! Enough genetic material in 12 individuals to re-start a population We know they need good quality water and high oxygen/low ammonia but we don t know what is the best food for the juvenile stage

28 Future Work Need to isolate and identify the gut contents of early juvenile FWPM (Scotland?) Investigate the mechanism of disease related mortality Investigate the best method of predation control

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