Crawfish, Red Swamp
Production country — China
Production method — Extensive pond and rice paddy
The Red Swamp Crayfish are farmed in large volumes in China where they are produced in either agricultural ponds or in rotation with rice crops. Crayfish farming does not require feed or chemical inputs. Escapees from ponds are common and this is a concern in Chinese production as it is a non-native species. Escaped crayfish have caused ecosystem damage by reducing the abundance of native fish and plant life.
Criterion Score: 6
Crawfish area non fed species that rely upon a natural occurring diet.
Criterion Score: 0
In many aspects crawfish performs well environmentally as they require no feed or chemical inputs, don’t deplete freshwater supplies and rely on naturally settling juveniles. However diseases are noted in the species but there is little data associated. Escapes can and do occur and as the species is not native to China damage has occurred causing habitat modification and changes to the food web leading to grave conservation concerns.
Fish Health and Welfare
Criterion Score: 1
Welfare and slaughter criteria do not apply to crawfish.
Criterion Score: -5
Management is poor for crawfish production in China. They is not enough information to determine the regulatory framework or its effectiveness and there is no overarching strategic environmental planning in place. Crawfish are not produced to any independent production standards.
Extensive pond and rice paddy
The red swamp crayfish are farmed in agricultural ponds or in rotation with a crop, usually rice. After harvesting the crop the land is flooded to create a pond in which the crayfish grow.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.Abalone
Clam, Manila (Farmed)
Clam, Manila, Japanese carpet shell (Caught at sea)
Crab, brown or edible
Crawfish, Red Swamp
Lobster, Norway, Langoustine, Dublin Bay prawn or scampi
Mussel, mussels (Caught at sea)
Mussel, mussels (Farmed)
Oyster, Native, oysters
Oyster, Native, oysters (Farmed)
Oyster, Pacific, oysters
Prawn, Endeavour, Greasy back
Prawn, King (whiteleg), prawns
Prawn, Northern, prawns
Prawn, Tiger prawns
Scallop, King, scallops
Scallop, Queen, scallops
Squid, Japanese flying
A member of the Cambaridae family, the Red Swamp Crawfish is commonly found in warm, fresh water. This is considered to be an “ecologically plastic” species as it can grow quickly even in areas with dry periods lasting up to four months. The average lifespan is five years and in this time weights of over 50g and lengths of 5 to 12cm can be reached. This is an omnivorous species feeding on insects, larvae and detritus. Sexually mature from 6cm the females dig burrows to lay their eggs in and will protect the young for eight weeks. Recent research suggests that the females may be able to reproduce through parthenogenesis.
ReferencesFAO 2007-2018. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Procambarus clarkii. Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme. Text by McClain, W.R.; Romaire R.P. In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 13 January 2007. Accessed 05/09/2018
New England Aquarium. Ocean Friendly Seafood. Crayfish. Available online at::http://www.neaq.org/conservation_and_research/projects/fisheries_bycatch_aquaculture/sustainable_fisheries/celebrate_seafood/ocean-friendly_seafood/species/crayfish.php. Accesed 05/03/2015
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch: Farmed Crayfish report.Available online at http://www.seafoodwatch.org/-/m/sfw/pdf/reports/c/mba_seafoodwatch_crayfish_china_report.pdf. Accessed 05/09/2018