A CO Down fishing business is helping use electrifying technology to tackle an invasive species threatening native salmon and trout stocks.
Electro Fishing Services in Donaghadee is using electrical pulses to help halt a plague of American Signal crayfish in rivers, lakes and ponds.
Experts from Queen's University Belfast are collecting scientific data on the results of the process, which has already been trialled with some success in England and Scotland.
Electro Fishing Services director Robin McKimm said he plans to license the technology in Britain, Europe and the US.
The species was introduced in the 1970s as a farm diversification project for sale to restaurants and consumers but failed to attract significant business.
Numbers of American Signal crayfish have multiplied, carrying a virus which kills indigenous crayfish and voraciously consuming everything from the eggs of other fish to grass hanging from the river bank. The burrowing creatures can even cause river banks to collapse, leading to injury to farm animals and flooding.
"With the female carrying more than 250 eggs, the invasive Signal crayfish has now reached plague proportions and biologists have been desperately seeking a way of halting its relentless spread," Mr McKimm said.
"It is a killing machine that will destroy life in Britain's waterways.
"I began developing the process four years ago in response to a request from a River Trust contact in the north of England who knew about our company's expertise in electric fishing equipment.
"We remove any other fish by electro fishing, then use extra high power pulses to kill the crayfish."