Crayfish plague in the Skellefte River

Crayfish in the Skellefte River have been found infected with crayfish plague. This means certain restrictions for crayfish fishing but also for how you handle fishing equipment, boats and more in the river. Here you will find information about rules and guidelines.

The rules that apply to an area infected with crayfish plague
In an area declared to be infected with crayfish plague, it is prohibited to:

  1. Catch crayfish
  2. market, sell, buy or transport uncooked crayfish
  3. use fish as bait in any water other than where it was
    caught.

If possible, avoid moving equipment to prevent the spread of infection. It is not permitted to transport fishing equipment, boats and machines or other objects used in areas infected with crayfish plague to any other waterway or lake without first disinfecting them (see below). PLEASE NOTE! Sports tackle such as lures, flies, lines, reels, etc. must also be disinfected.

This also applies if you are moving gear and boats between storage facilities within the infected area.

How to disinfect boats, equipment, etc:

  • Immerse or wash objects with a 70% alcohol solution (Kemetyl T-röd) for at least 20 minutes.
  • Boats can be sprayed with T-röd once all water has been emptied.
  • Wipe down the object until it is completely dry.
  • Dry inflatable mattresses and boats, swimming costumes, fishing tackle, etc. in the sun for a couple of days.
  • Dry large objects in the sauna at 60–80°C for at least 5 hours
  • Dry smaller objects in the sauna at 60–80°C for at least 1 hour
  • Disinfect with solution of VirkonTM S
  • High-pressure washer with water at 80°C
  • Boil the object for at least 5 minutes with the lid on
  • Freeze the object to below –10°C for at least 24 hours

The decision on the plague-infected area also includes the side waters up to the first definitive migration obstacle for fish. The map is based on Skellefteå municipality's knowledge of obstacles, so it is not certain that the map matches reality. In the event of judicial review, the written definition applies according to the decision of the County Administrative Board. We are constantly gaining more knowledge about the spread of the infection, so to be on the safe side, gear and boats should be sanitized even if they have been in water just outside the marked area in the map.

Crayfish plague is caused by a fungus

Crayfish plague is an infection caused by a parasitic fungus that only attacks freshwater crayfish. The fungus that causes the infection, Aphanomyces astaci, probably originated in North America. As a parasite, it is highly dependent on the host organism. It is the propagules, zoospores, of the fungus that transmits crayfish plague. These spores are asexual. The zoospores are emitted by an infected crayfish, living or recently deceased, thereby infecting other crayfish.
While the signal crayfish is resistant to the disease it is a carrier of the parasitic fungus, meaning that crayfish plague is often spread by the transport of infected signal crayfish between water systems by people. When fishing equipment is moved from one body of water to another, infected crayfish and zoospores may follow, transmitting the infection if the equipment is used without being disinfected or dried beforehand.

Questions and answers about the crayfish plague

Yes, you can swim in the river, but swimwear and bath toys should be completely dry or disinfected before bathing in the next water.

Yes, you can eat the fish that have been caught in the river.

Yes, fish can spread the infection through their feces or mucous membranes.

Sometimes. Birds do not spread infection through feces, but there is a small risk that they can spread infection through droplets on the body or that they lose a crayfish that they hold in their beak.

No, only crayfish can be infected.

Dogs can swim in the river but must be completely dry before going into another water so as not to spread the infection further.

Yes. The dog is not infected and mammals do not spread the infection after passing through the gastrointestinal tract.

Yes, as long as you drive to the sea and not to another freshwater area, it's okay.

Yes, if fishing gear or other equipment is completely dried, the fungus will die.

Yes, but before you move it to other water, it should be emptied of water and disinfected.

No, the crayfish plague is a fungus that only kills its host animal, which is the crayfish.

If you are going to move the boat or equipment between the magazines, the equipment must be disinfected. Although the move takes place between two magazines that have been declared infected.

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