Marine Pathways Project Newsletter

The marine pathways project produces a quarterly newsletter detailing brief updates on the subject of non-native species and on specific project components. The newsletters should be available to download here. If you have any problems or would like any additional information which cannot be found on our accompanying web pages please contact

Issue one - Jan 2014 (PDF)

Issue two - April 2014 (PDF)

Issue three - July 2014 (PDF)

Issue four - Oct 2014 (PDF)

Issue five - Jan 2015 (PDF)

Issue six - April 2015 (PDF)

Issue seven - July 2015 (PDF)

Issue eight - Oct 2015 (PDF)

Issue nine - Jan 2016 (PDF)

Issue ten - April 2016 (PDF)

Issue eleven - July 2016 (PDF)

Issue twelve - Oct 2016 (PDF)

Issue thirteen - Jan 2017 (PDF)

Issue fourteen - April 2017 (PDF)

Issue fifteen - July 2017 (PDF) 

Issue sixteen - October 2017 (PDF)

Issue seventeen - January 2018 (PDF)

Issue eighteen - April 2018 (PDF)

Marine NNS News

February 2017 - American Lobsters in Wales

American lobsters are considered a potentially invasive non-native species in the UK due to their potential impact on native species such as lobster and edible crab. Impacts can range from outcompeting native populations for food and shelter and the spread of disease. Last summer off the coast of Pwllheli on the Llyn Peninsula, a north Wales fisherman caught an American lobster - the first confirmed catch in Welsh waters.

The fisherman reported the catch to the Welsh Fisherman's Association and sent the lobster to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for identification. NRW positively identified the species using the ventral tooth under the rostrum to distinguish the American lobster from its European cousin, Homarus gammarus.

The Welsh Government is committed to maintaining and enhancing diverse marine life and is working with partners to prevent the introduction and spread of INNS.

Working with the Welsh Fisherman's Association and NRW an information note was produced and widely distributed to raise awareness of the American lobster issue and the devastating effects the deliberate or unintentional release of INNS can have on native populations. The information note also seeks to encourage the reporting of INNS to the relevant authorities.
October 2014 – First record of Quagga mussel in UK

In October 2014 the Quagga Mussel was found in Wraysbury Reservoir and the Wraysbury River, a tributary of the River Colne, near Egham, Surrey. This is the first UK record of this species.

The Quagga Mussel (Dreissena bugensis rostriformis) is a highly invasive non-native species from the Ponto-Caspian region, very similar to Zebra Mussel. It can significantly alter whole ecosystems by filtering out large quantities of nutrients and is also a serious biofouling risk blocking pipes smothering boat hulls and other structures.

For further information please see the GB Non-native Species Secretariat species alert page.
The Commonwealth Games Flotilla which brought 250 boats to the inner Clyde.
September 2014 - Biosecurity Guidelines in action

Following on from the creation of a biosecurity plan for the Clyde, the Firth of Clyde Forum has taken the work a step further by publishing, in partnership with SNH, guidance on how to structure a biosecurity plan for a marine site or specific marine event (external link). Since its publication in February 2014 RYA Scotland has used it to create a biosecurity plan for the Commonwealth Games Flotilla which recently brought 250 boats to the inner Clyde.

Sarah Brown, Project Manager of the Firth of Clyde Forum, said:

“It’s a continual struggle to keep invasive species, such as the Chinese mitten crab and the carpet sea squirt, from spreading in Scottish waters. Our seas are important in so many ways for both the environment and the economy and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for businesses and individuals to know what to do in response to the new legislation. It is great to see the guidance already in use by RYA Scotland.”

James Stuart, CEO of RYAS said, “Creating a biosecurity plan was actually much simpler than we thought it might be. The risk based approach was familiar and easily showed where the practical control points were. We established what the effective measures would be including pre event communications, hull fouling assessment points and a risk assessment based on the salinity of the destination pontoons so even if something did slip through unnoticed we felt confident that none of the salt water loving species could survive long enough to get established in the new areas.”
Chinese mitten crab

Image courtesy of the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)

September 2014 – First Scottish Record Of Chinese Mitten Crab

A Chinese mitten crab found in the River Clyde is the very first record of this NNS in the wild in Scotland.

Dr Willie Yeomans, Catchment Manager for the Clyde River Foundation said “This chance discovery by an angler poses a potentially significant ecological threat to the Clyde system which is still recovering from centuries of poor water quality and structural modification. This finding potentially has very serious implications for river management under the EU Water Framework Directive. Our first priority is to follow up the finding with survey work to determine if there is an established population of mitten crabs in the Clyde and we are appealing for information from anyone who may have encountered these animals on the river.”

Dr Paul Clark, Natural History Museum added “Recent research undertaken by Royal Holloway University of London and the Natural History Museum suggests mitten crabs can eat salmon and trout eggs. Environmental authorities need to urgently consider what appropriate actions are required to prevent such introductions happening again in the future.”

The mitten crab, native to China, was introduced to Germany in 1912 and subsequently spread throughout Northern Europe. It was recorded in the Thames in 1935 and is now well-established in the Rivers Thames, Humber, Medway, Wharfe, Ouse and Tyne. It is thought they were first brought to the UK in ship’s ballast water but the origin of the Clyde specimen is unclear. Mitten Crabs are included in the IUCN’s list of “100 of the worst alien species in the world”.

The Clyde River Foundation, in partnership with the Mitten Crab Recording Project, is appealing for information relating to mitten crabs in the Clyde catchment. Please report any sightings, along with details (date, location, size) and a photograph if possible to .

Read more on the Clyde River Foundation (external link) and the Mitten Crab Recording Project (external link)

September 2014 – EU Regulations on Invasive Species

On 29th September 2014, the EU adopted the new Regulation on invasive species! This regulation is a binding legal tool and will come into force 1st January 2015.
Asian shore crab
May 2014 – The Asian Shore Crab – First time Recorded in UK Waters

Two recordings of the Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, have been made in the UK for the first time – one in Kent and one in Barry Island, Wales.

What does it look like?

The Asian shore crab is small, typically with a shell (carapace) between 3.5cm to 4.5cm. It has a distinctive square shaped carapace and light and dark banded legs. It’s colour ranges from orange-brown to green-purple.

Where is it from?

This crab is native to Russia, China, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. The crab has been previously introduced to the USA and Europe where it has become invasive.

How was it introduced into UK waters?

It is thought that the crab may have been introduced into UK in the ballast water of ships arriving from France. Crab larvae may also have drifted across the English Channel from France on ocean currents.

What is being done?

Ballast water management is being researched as a tool to reduce the likelihood of future introductions via this route. Along the US coast, where this species has already been introduced, scientists are monitoring its spread and impact. In addition, experiments are being conducted to increase knowledge of the basic biology and ecology of this species.

What to do if you suspect you have seen an Asian shore crab?

The Marine Biological Association (MBA) has asked the public to help identify and report sightings of Asian shore crabs. If you find an Asian shore crab please report it to the MBA (external link).

If possible, please provide a photograph when reporting the sighting.

Read more on the Asian Shore Crab.

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark