WILDLIFE enthusiasts and anglers are on alert following the discovery of a killer shrimp relative at Tewkesbury.
The Environment Agency has warned that the Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, a relative of a European killer shrimp, has been found on the River Severn at Tewkesbury and Bevere near Worcester.
Although the agency says it does not know yet know what harm the invasive shrimp could cause to waterways in Gloucestershire, wildlife enthusiasts and fishermen say they are taking no chances.
A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust said killer shrimps ate large amounts of native shrimp and plant life and could affect water quality and possibly deplete fish stocks.
She said: "We would be concerned if there is an invasive species in our watercourses. We would take the same precautions that we would for a killer shrimp, such as making sure our waders are disinfected and dried out.
"They are worn when we carry out work, such as surveying, in small rivers."
Rob Danter, spokesman for the Tewkesbury Popular Angling club, said he did not believe fish stocks would be under threat but confirmed that the agency had advised his members to take precautionary measures to help control the spread of the invasive shrimp.
It can live in water attached to anglers' keep nets and bags and Rob said the agency had advised that those be kept dry after use.
"Hopefully, that will stop it transferring from one river to the next," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: "While this new invasive shrimp species is related to the 'killer shrimp', we are uncertain at this stage what its impact might be. Until we have better information we will, as a precaution, treat it as a high impact species. An immediate assessment of the risks of this shrimp has been commissioned.
"We now have a dedicated team in place to establish how far the shrimp has spread along the river and canal network."