Crayfish or crawfish

Astacidae

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Europe
Production method — Lake and waterway
Picture of Crayfish or crawfish

Sustainability rating one info

Sustainability overview

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Biology

Crayfish - also called crawfish, crawdads or freshwater lobsters- are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related; taxonomically, they are members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. [In some regions including Asia and Australia the name crayfish is used for marine spiny lobsters]. Europe is home to seven species of crayfish in the genera Astacus and Austropotamobius but the greatest diversity of crayfish species is found in southeastern North America, with over 330 species in nine genera, all in the family Cambaridae. Crayfish breathe through feather-like gills and are found in bodies of water that do not freeze to the bottom. They occupy burrows or hide under stones to avoid predation. Crayfish feed on living and dead animals and plant material. Larger individuals will eat smaller crayfish. On average, crayfish grow to 17.5 cm (6.9 in) in length and live about 3 years but some species grow larger and live longer. Mature animals mate in open water after which the female retreats to a burrow which provides protection while the fertilised eggs or young are attached to the underside of their mother's tail. Females carrying eggs or hatchlings are highly susceptible to predators, because they cannot use their normal tail-flipping escape response. Hatchlings begin to feed after 2nd moult but remain with the female until eventually separated after leaving the burrow. Synchronised reproduction helps reduce the impact of predation on these vulnerable young crayfish.

Management

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Production method

Lake and waterway

In Europe, native freshwater crayfish such as the noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) and the introduced signal crayfish (Pacifasticus leniusculus) are produced in semi-intensive systems.