The government has allocated €20,000 for a project to study methods to control an invasive species of red swamp crayfish which is growing fast in several valleys to the detriment of the ecosystem.

Ministers Aaron Farrugia and Julia Farrugia Portelli visited Baħrija Valley on Tuesday and were briefed about the situation. They were told that the crayfish were endangering indigenous freshwater species such as the crab known as Il-Qabru.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Malta and the Environment Authority. 

Several traps are being laid to identify the best way to control the species, which can also be found in Wied Għajn Żejtuna in Mellieħa, Wied l-Isperanza in Mosta and Chadwick Lakes.  

Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said that Parks Malta the agency falling within the ministry, had a duty to safeguard the local ecosystem and preserve the valleys.  

Prof Alan Deidun explained how the red swamp crayfish, originally found in the southern United States, was causing serious harm to Malta's fauna, especially as it had no predators.

The alarm about the presence of alien crayfish in Malta's valleys was first raised in 2017. At the time Times of Malta had quoted Deidun warning that crayfish were 'spreading like hell' and already wreaking havoc on freshwater species.

 

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