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Thursday, 28 January 2010 20:08

Legislation regarding Crayfish and trapping crayfish in England and Wales

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Legislation regarding Crayfish in England and Wales: Save a species and stay legal! UK Fisherman are constantly being asked about the legalities surrounding Crayfish and trapping them. We hope the following, courtesy of the South West Crayfish Project helps.

White Clawed Crayfish White-clawed Crayfish

It is illegal to take white-clawed crayfish from the wild or offer for sale without a licence.  EU Habitats Directive and UK Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended) legislation

It is illegal to handle native crayfish in England without a licence from Natural England.

It is illegal to trap any species of crayfish without licensing from the Environment Agency.


Non-native Crayfish

North American Signal CrayfishIt is illegal to release, or allow to escape, any non-native species into the wild in the UK except under licence.  Wildife and Countryside Act 1981, (as amended)

It is illegal to keep any crayfish in England and Wales, except under licence (with specific exemption areas for signal crayfish, refer to DEFRA - Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs).  The Prohibition of Keeping of Live Fish (Crayfish) Order 1996 (as amended), made under the Import of Live Fish (England and Wales) Act 1980,

It is illegal to trap any species of crayfish without licensing from the Environment Agency.

It is illegal to release crayfish without a licence, or allowing them to escape

It is illegal to trap, trade or farm any species of crayfish commercially without licence. The Prohibition of Keeping of Live Fish (Crayfish) Order 1996

Any person farming crayfish must register their business with The Fish Health Inspectorate, CEFAS - Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.
Recent cases of otters drowning in illegal crayfish traps have been recorded. Traps with an entrance greater than 95mm internal diameter must be fitted with an otter guard. National Crayfish Byelaw 2005.

Fish Stocking

The movement of fish within all inland waters in England and Wales is regulated by the Environment Agency.  Section 30 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975

Regulation is important as crayfish plague can be transported on fish scales and damp equipment during fish stocking.  The introduction of large fish into river systems can also disturb the balance of freshwater communities and result in an increased predation of juvenile white-clawed crayfish.

Suppliers

The Crayfish CodeNorth American signal crayfish are the only species that can be trapped and traded commercially.  All persons farming or holding non-native crayfish must have a licence and be registered with The Fish Health Inspectorate, CEFAS.  The Prohibition of Keeping of Live Fish (Crayfish) Order 1996 (as amended)

Some areas may not require licences to keep North American signal crayfish.  Please refer to: www.defra.gov.uk/fish/freshwater/pdf/licreq.pdf

It is illegal to trap any species of crayfish without licensing from the Environment Agency.

Restaurants and Markets

Hotels, restaurants and fish markets do not require a licence to hold crayfish if all crayfish held is for direct human consumption only.

It is illegal to release crayfish without a licence, or allowing them to escape

Waterside Management

In areas where angling clubs manage waterways, such as river banks, it may be possible to manage and enhance the habitat to benefit both native crayfish and target fish species, such as brown trout.

Contact the Environment Agency for consent to any in-channel or bank side work.  To check whether the site is subject to any special designations, contact Natural England.



References and sourcing

Search for crayfish legislation:

www.environment-agency.gov.uk/
www.defra.gov.uk/
www.cefas.co.uk/

Document: Crayfish and River Users: The Wildlife Trusts and Environment Agency.
www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/crayfish_and_river_users_pdf.pdf

Further information wildlife and fish species (including crayfish):
www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/fishing/31491.aspx

For further information on the South West Crayfish Project:
www.bristolzoo.org.uk/resources/documents/Conservation%20pages/projects/Foundation_Crayfish_insert.pdf

Source: South West Crayfish Project

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