Dutch local authorities have called on national government to take action against the American crayfish, which, they say are damaging water plants and wildlife and may be contributing to river and canal bank damage.
The crayfish – Procambarus clarkii, or red swamp crayfish – are thought to have travelled from their native United States in the ballast tanks of large freighters and are well adapted to local waterways. They are particularly common in Utrecht, Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland.
‘They dig holes in soft ground,’ Ad Jongenelen, from Langedijk town council told local broadcaster NH Nieuws. ‘It is an invasive exotic which is difficult to get rid of.’
Fishing for them is not a structural solution because they reproduce rapidly, Jongenelen said. They also have few natural enemies.
Local councils have now voted by 98 to 2 to urge the government to get involved and to draw up an action plan by the end of the year
In 2018, the provincial authorities in Noord-Holland launched a campaign to turn the pest into a local delicacy, and enlisted tv chef Leon de Mazairac to give a crayfish cooking masterclass.