A new invasive species has been discovered swarming in Upper Lough Erne.
The bloody red shrimp have been discovered for the first time in Northern Ireland – during a fish survey for the Environment Agency.
The species has been previously discovered in 2008 in the Shannon River in the Republic.
The shrimp was found in Upper Lough Erne as part of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI)-led DOLMANT project, focusing on the development of lake management tools.
Kevin Gallagher, fish biologist at AFBI, said: “The bloody red shrimp is distinctive from the native shrimp species due to its orangey-red transparent colouration, and unlike similar native species it can be observed swarming in shaded areas during the day. Red swarms of the shrimp have been seen in marinas throughout the Shannon River.”
Dr Yvonne McElarney, DOLMANT project leader, said the main concern was the potential adverse impact on the ecology of Lough Erne.
“This species is known as a voracious predator that has the potential to have a serious impact on plankton composition,” she said.
It is thought the species was introduced to Upper Lough Erne by leisure craft.