Monday, December 28, 2009

A Million Alien Crawfish

I am not nearly so exercised as some over the advent of so called alien species into new ecological niches.  It should be avoided, but once in motion there is little to be done.  This is certainly a case of just that.

My major regret over zebra mussels is that they are all so small.  However, birds are figuring out how to eat them and they have single handedly cleaned up the Great Lakes.  That tells us that an unfilled niche existed.  Now the question is why are Asian Carp doing so well?

Asian Carp is a major source of protein in Asia.  It is now in position to be the same here.  Most of the protein can even be fed to livestock.

I have thought for sometime that the crayfish was an underutilized source of protein for human consumption.  Outside of the South, no one has really tried to use them.  Yet they are fresh water lobster.

They are easily trapped and even farmed and this article shows how large the populations are.  It should be easy to produce clean product and preparation is similar.  The meat is in the tails and the rest produces an excellent stock.  They are no different than shrimp.

Obviously Loch Ken should produce top quality crayfish.  In fact we are looking at possibly tons of commercially valuable product.

I wonder how easy it would be to fish crayfish in Lake Superior.  The truth is that we have never developed the market.  Folks say they are not as good as shrimp, but that may be a side effect of harvesting.  Cold water crayfish are bound to be better than warm water crayfish.  Some one needs to set simple traps and build up a business supplying restaurants to get the business happening.  It may be possible to maintain quality year round.

More than a million 'alien' crayfish caught in loch

A project to capture American signal crayfish on a Scottish loch has caught more than a million of the creatures.

The pilot scheme at Loch Ken in Dumfries and Galloway was part of research into the impact the non-native species was having on marine life.

The Scottish government financed the project, which started in the summer and ended in October.

The signal crayfish has been blamed for eating young fish and destroying their habitat.

A business case is now being prepared to seek further funding to undertake a three-year study in the loch, which will involve more trapping.

First recorded

However, according to a report by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, it is unlikely that all the creatures can be removed by trapping.

In the longer-term the focus will be on reducing their numbers to a manageable level.

The signal crayfish was introduced to waters in England and Wales through fish farms about 20 years ago.

In Scotland, they were first recorded in the catchment of the River Dee in Kirkcudbrightshire in 1995.

Since then, specimens have been found in Scottish ponds, rivers and lochs as far north as Inverness-shire.

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