INNS! What do you know? What can you do?

When we’re out paddling it’s very important we look after our environment – we appreciate it, we use it, so we should take care of it.

The spread of INNS can be quite devastating to local ecosystems, so it’s vital we do something to Stop the Spread.

Firstly – what even is an INNS?

INNS stands for Invasive, Non-Native Species

An invasive, non-native species is any species that has been introduced to a country, whether deliberately or accidentally, by humans.

Common Waterways INNS

There are far too many INNS on our waterways to list here, so here are a few we have spotted on the waterways of South Wales whilst out paddling.

American Mink

American Mink | Seen at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchap… | Flickr
(C) Peter Trimming

Despite the cool scientific name – Neovison vison – this cute little fluffball is actually a voracious predator and outcompetes all local predators. Their ancestors were usually escapees or freed from fur farms.

They eat anything they can catch and kill, and are a serious threat to water voles and ground-nesting birds.

Spotted on a SUP lesson at Radyr Weir in North Cardiff.

Book your Paddleboard Lesson HERE

Japanese Knotweed

(c) Roger Kidd

This very common plant was first introduced as an ornamental garden plant. Its bamboo-like stems can grow over 2m tall and grow in dense clumps, stopping other vegetation from growing.

Once it sets in it is very difficult to eradicate. Its roots are very penetrating and it can take a few years to get rid of it – and that’s when being treated by professional Japanese Knotweed Killers (not a real job title, but it sounds good!).

Killer Shrimp & Demon Shrimp

Killer shrimp and Demon shrimp sound terrifying! Like something from a cheesy ‘B’- Movie!

And to any small creature and the eggs of water-living animals, they really are! They are considered to be one of the most damaging invasive species in Europe. They eat a range of animals, fish eggs and even young fish, and often kill prey and leave it uneaten.


Teenage Mutant Ninja (or ‘Hero’ to those a little older) Turtles could be said to be to blame for these in our canals! Many people got them as pets and then released them into the wild when they got too big to look after.

They’re unlikely to breed in the wild as our summers aren’t warm enough, but they are difficult to catch and can be quite damaging to the environment if released!

Spotted on a Guided SUP Tour of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal near Pontymoile

Join a paddleboard tour of the canal HERE

Find more about INNS HERE on Canal & River Trust’s Rogues Gallery

What can you do?

You can help out by making sure you follow 3 simple steps after using a waterway.

  1. Check your kit and clothes for anything which might be trying to hitch a ride!
  2. Clean all your kit thoroughly.
  3. Dry your kit and don’t take any water from one environment to another.

Stop the Spread! Find out more here –> CHECK CLEAN DRY

If you have any questions about the above or anything paddleboard or waterways related in South Wales, don’t hesitate to drop us a message at

We look forward to seeing you out on the water soon!

Outdoor Explore Wales

07859 795 785

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