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Crayfish, how not to do it...

...and why the Environment Agency do insist on strict licensing for traps:

fish (the other one)

very sad story,worthy of note is that the trap appears to be a home made job,the design was a disaster waiting to happen!it was too big for starters and not secure! the trap only needed to be the size of a demi john,that way no otter would have god caught in only suggestion is if you dont know how to make one buy one of those spring loaded mesh jobs from e-bay.
as for the liscensing,i dont realy think id would have made any difference as no one is actually there to ensure you are using the right gear.

The matter of Signal Crayfish in the Cam is particularly sensitive (and in need of active control) because there is an outpost of surviving native "white-clawed" crayfish in one of the Cam's tributaries, near Fowlmere, IIRC.

Well-managed, well-informed trapping of Signals should be being encouraged on the Cam.
I believe that the entry-size restriction is specifically stressed when a license is issued.
fish (the other one)

"I believe that the entry-size restriction is specifically stressed when a license is issued. "

tell me more,as the american signal is bigger the size hole would allow natives in too.

fish (the other one) wrote:
"I believe that the entry-size restriction is specifically stressed when a license is issued. "

tell me more,as the american signal is bigger the size hole would allow natives in too.

I think the restriction on *maximum* size of the inlet hole was mentioned on the EA page that now seems to be password protected... Rolling Eyes

The *maximum* hole size restriction is to keep large creatures (like otters) out of the trap.
This was mentioned in the BBC story linked from the first post in this thread
the BBC wrote:
Andy Sadler, the fisheries and diversity officer for the Environment Agency, said: "...
"The trap is probably one for catching crayfish but ... the mouth is too big.

"The entrance of the trap looks to be about 130mm - its only just over the 95mm limit, but it's surprising where otters will go to get food."

Mr Sadler said the agency had no objection to traps being used in rivers so long as they conformed to regulations set down to protect wildlife, especially endangered species.

"It's people being irresponsible and reckless because they're not setting the traps up correctly and we can't control it unless people come to us to get the correct information," he said.

I don't believe -
1/ that there is any intent in the inlet restriction to keep White-claws out
2/ or that you'd get a license to trap where there are known to be any native White claws
- but ask away.
Come Monday, I'll phone the EA and see what they have to say.


The DEFRA page says
Crayfish trapping advice packs are available from the National Fisheries Laboratory 01480 483968. Further information on these byelaws can be found on the Environment Agency website.

And the most helpful thing I can find immediately on the slow mess that is the EA site is:
Crayfish fishing

If you want to find out in what areas you can fish for crayfish please contact us on 08708 506506.

So unless anything better can be found on the EA site, its wait till Monday!
fish (the other one)

thanks for the info dougal! Very Happy

And I just realised that I forgot to phone them. Tomorrow!

From a meeting I had with EA fisheries team-leaders today:

Crayfish licences are not issued in areas were native crayfish are found. Therefore, (in theory), there should be no risk of accidental catch related to the size of inlet. Thus the size of inlet is (as dougal suggested) to restrict other larger animals entering the trap.

The EA have just found the first ‘Marble Crayfish’ in the River Aire in South Yorkshire (first find in northern England).This is yet to be confirmed by forensic analysis. Marble crayfish make Signal crayfish look like a walk in the park because they undertake both hermaphroditic and bisexual reproduction. Thus a whole colony can develop from one crayfish. And as with signal crayfish, they can walk for many miles across land, will predate on the native species and carry crayfish plague.

The marble crayfish can grow to the size of a small lobster and its tale makes very good eating! (so I’m told…)

However….there’s also a debate going on as to whether catching crayfish is beneficial at all. Apparently, its mostly the large, inquisitive males that are trapped. This de-stabilises the population dynamics, and encourages greater reproduction rates amongst the remaining males, which in turn produce larger volumes of offspring that will happily leave the river and wander off across the fields into the neighbouring catchments.
While research into the population dynamics of the signal crayfish is ongoing, the rule of thumb was definitely if in doubt, don’t trap them.
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