You may not have heard, but there’s a minor plague of USA Crayfish in Germany. They are considered invasive and harbor a disease of crayfish to which they are largely immune, but that kills off the European crayfish. So are on the list for extirpation. Yet Germany has a law saying folks can’t catch and eat the tasty little critters. Yet they have just passed some other rule saying ONE professional fisherman CAN catch them. Silly Germans. Just make a rule that folks can catch and eat invasive critters and you can have lots and lots of the invaders removed in no time. (Though do advise local shops to stock more Louisiana Hot Sauce ;-)
Berlin crayfish panic as Tiergarten overrun with red crustaceans
A wildlife group has been receiving daily calls from people reporting marauding crustaceans in Berlin’s Tiergarten. The invasive species are often seen scuttling outside the Spanish Embassy.
[Lots of amusing pictures and videos of crayfish ommitted. -E.M.Smith]
Parts of Berlin have been overrun with scuttling red crayfish that are likely trying to expand their territory, a German conservation network announced on Thursday.
The invasive red swamp crawfish have been spotted scuttling around the paths of the Tiergarten park and even parading outside the neighboring Spanish Embassy.
The red critters are often spotted in the park, but they have been appearing in much larger numbers this year, picking up considerable attention on social media.
The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) said it has received large numbers of sighting reports in the past weeks. It said the increased numbers are problematic for the ecosystem of Berlin.
The Tiergarten population of the non-native crayfish likely took hold from people dumping them in the ponds there. They are a popular addition to aquariums given their striking appearance and their hardy nature.
Measurements by the fisheries office revealed that the water quality of Tiergarten was quite high, meaning the crayfish were probably migrating due to population expansion.
The North American species often squeeze out local populations of crayfish and carry diseases. They were labeled as an invasive species of high importance by the European Commission last year.
NABU, Germany’s largest nature conservation group, called on aquarium owners to refrain from releasing exotic animals into Berlin’s water systems.
Under poaching laws, it is forbidden to catch and grill the tasty crustaceans.
So so silly… Laws to protect invasive species that are being pests.
They need to just issues visas for a few Cajuns to come on over and set up steamed crawdaddy carts… they know how to catch the critters too.
Though it does look like they have seen the light a little bit, and after what looks like waiting until the crayfish population is thoroughly entrenched, have issued some kind of permit to a professional fisherman to catch the bugs.
Berlin finds culinary solution to combat invading crayfish
The German capital has been suffering from a plague of rapidly reproducing invasive crayfish. Now, health authorities have given the all-clear for a simple solution to reduce their numbers: Eating them.
A Berlin fishery has been given permission to catch an introduced species of crayfish from two of the city’s lakes and sell them for human consumption, German media reported on Sunday.
Populations of the Louisiana crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), originally from the southern USA and northern Mexico, have taken on plague proportions since last summer in lakes in the Tiergarten and Britzer Garten parks in the German capital.
The permission to catch the creatures, which runs to the end of 2018, was given after Berlin environmental authorities ascertained that they did not contain dangerous levels of heavy metals or other toxins.
Caught in their hundreds
“No limits were exceeded” during examinations of the animals, Derk Ehlert, a wild fauna expert from the Berlin Senate’s environmental department, told Germany’s DPA news agency.
Ehlert said that more than 1,600 had found their way into fishing nets since the permission to catch them had been granted a week ago.
“But we expect declining quantities over the course of the year,” he added.
Catching the crayfish, which also goes under the unflattering name of “mudbug,” was still forbidden to everyone else, Ehlert said.
The small family-owned fishery from Berlin’s Spandau district that has received the permit intends to sell the crayfish to restaurants and private persons.
The crayfish plague in Berlin was noticed only last year, when the red crustaceans, which can reach a length of 15 centimeters (6 inches), were sighted on streets and paths in Tiergarten park.
They go on to say how to prepare them in the southern style…
Just so tepid, silly, and doomed to fail. ONE permit to only 2 ponds, and it expires end of this year. As long as just a few juveniles below eating size (as small as a paperclip…) are left in the ponds, the problem is not over. These guys also can walk decent distances as they spread to new waters, love to follow canals, and in Texas, at least, a bunch of them live entirely on land making tunnels underground (one presumes there is enough rain water to make mud down in their holes).
I used to catch them in the irrigation canals when the water was shut off for winter. Just turn over a rock, and there would be a few little ones hiding. Bigger ones tended to be in holes in the banks, but harder for a 5 year old to get.
Anyone who thinks catching the table sized ones (one presumes with a net) is going to “fix” this problem is just silly.
One wonders, though, if these are the Mutant Ninja Marbled Crayfish!!! that multiply by the hundreds, per quarter, each? If so, well, it will take more than a few thousand in a net to stop them.
Mutant all-female crayfish prompt invasive species fears
The self-cloning crustaceans exploded amongst Germany’s aquarium hobbyists in the 1990s. Now it has become an invasive species in countries as far away as Japan and Madagascar.
The government of Canada warned the public on Sunday not to keep marbled crayfish as pets amidst a growing controversy over the self-cloning species that does not need males to survive.
Marbled crayfish, a freshwater crustacean, arrived on the scene between 25 and 30 years ago as mutated descendants of the slough crayfish, but with three sets of each chromosome instead of two – making them all female and able to reproduce without mating. They came to widespread attention when they became extremely popular on the pet market in Germany in the 1990s.
According to a new study published in Nature, Ecology and Evolution, a problem soon emerged: marbled crayfish, also known by their German name Marmorkrebs, are born ready to reproduce, and multiply so quickly that populations can easily get out of hand.
“If you have one animal, essentially, three months later, you will have 200 or 300,” neurophysiologist Wolfgang Stein told Canadian public broadcaster CBC.
Crayfish inherit the earth
Desperate pet owners dumped the extra crayfish in nearby lakes, becoming an invasive species in countries as far-flung as Madagascar, Japan, and across Europe. This prompted the European Union to issue “a total ban on the possession, trade, transport, production and release of these species in the wild” in 2014.
The report in Nature, Ecology and Evolution said that the species now occupies a space the size of the US state of Indiana in Madagascar.
Although there have been no reports of marbled crayfish in the wild in North America, the US states of Missouri and Tennessee have issued preemptive bans on the trade of the crustacean.
Since it looks like they are in the wild somewhere in Europe, that’s going to be an, ahem, ever growing problem.
I suggest all you EU folks start changing your “poaching” laws and learn how to property poach a crawdaddy…
SWEDISH-STYLE DILL-POACHED CRAYFISH
Submitted by sofp Updated: October 01, 2015
This recipe is from chef Johan Svensson of New York’s Riingo restaurant (www.riingo.com).
8 qts water
12 qts water
2 cups salt
1 12 oz bottle of beer
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 bunches dill
1. Bring the 8 quarts of water to a boil and blanch the crayfish for 2 minutes and then plunge them into ice water. Discard water. 2. Bring the 12 quarts of water, dill, salt, beer and sugar to a boil. 3. Add crayfish and cook for 5 minutes. 4. Remove crayfish and place in a container that can be sealed. Pour liquid over the crayfish, cover, and place in fridge for 24 hours. 5. Remove crayfish from liquid and serve cold. This dish is sometimes served with an herb aioli dipping sauce.
It is also best to “purge” the crawdads in salt water prior to that whole cooking thing. They are called “mud bugs” for a reason…
But get cracking! At 100 / month expansion ratio from one you’ve got a LOT of eating to do!