Alarm bells are ringing among anglers after the discovery of predatory crayfish in Lochrutton.
The Nith Catchment Fishery Trust said one was caught two weeks ago around the same time of a sighting on the Nith at Kingholm Quay.
It suggests the American Signal Crayfish is on the move from Loch Ken. NCFT director Jim Henderson said: “We don’t know how the crayfish got to Lochrutton. They could have come overland or ould have ended up there because someone used them as bait or did not clean fishing equipment after it had been used in an area that already had them.
“We are working on a strategy to minimise their spread. There is no way to get rid of all of them but we can limit their numbers.”
Meanwhile, a Dalry businessman has warned against fishery plans for Loch Ken. Michael Dutton believes that a project to catch, kill and sell the shellfish is unsustainable even though a major supermarket chain has expressed interest in selling the crayfish, if the project is granted a licence. But Michael, who owns a log cabin and soap-making businesses, believes the fishery would not last .
He said: “They take three to five years to get to maturity. The ones they try to catch the second year would just not be big enough.”
Michael believes a better option would be a festival where numbered traps are set, tickets sold and prizes given to the people whose traps catch the biggest crayfish, which are then cooked and eaten.