American Signal Crayfish from UK rivers and lakes

Our native British freshwater crayfish populations in river sand lakes are being decimated by the American Signal Crayfish. Not only do they devour the much smaller native white crayfish, they also carry a disease that infects them. And unlike the natives, they also burrow into riverbanks causing collapse. Unwelcome guests indeed.

In 2008 Matt Thompson of the Cotswold Crayfish Company set about removing them from where they are not wanted to where they are… in the cooking pot.

They sell and hire otter safe traps, they work with landowners whose waterways are affected and have a network of experienced, licenced trappers. They also have a cleaning and grading facility on the River Kennet in Berkshire as well as a new state of the art processing facility in Oxfordshire to offer long life cooked crayfish.

There is much scientific debate about whether or not removing crayfish by trapping has any significant impact on populations. Crayfish are carnivores and cannibalistic. Some experts believe is that removing only large specimens simply allows the smaller ones to survive and thrive rather than being eaten so resulting in increased populations, others that taking mature breeding crayfish may help control populations. It is policy of the Crayfish Company, and it is very important, that trappers also take smaller ones which are graded out and disposed of.

Fundamentally Fish is working with Matt and his team and look forward to offering these tasty seasonal crustaceans, both live and cooked and directly to our customers from late spring onwards.


Fancy a bit of outdoor life? – contact the Crayfish Company for information about how to become a licenced trapper.