Wednesday 20 January 2021

Delft and The Hague take action against American crayfish invader

The American invader. Photo: Mike Murphy via Wikimedia Commons

Delft and The Hague’s water boards have launched a plan to map the occurrence of Procambarus clarkii, or red swamp crayfish, which has invaded Dutch rivers and ditches, public broadcaster NOS reports.

The crayfish, thought to have travelled from their native United States in the ballast tanks of large freighters, are proliferating at a fast rate and are posing a threat to other animal species, NOS writes. It is also damaging riverbanks by digging holes and cutting off water plants with their pincers.

The animal is about 15 centimetres long and can be seen going walkabout on land and paved roads. It has been spotted in other parts of the country as well but not in such great numbers as in the Delft region.

People who spot a crayfish can use the form on the water authorities’ website to tell them about it.

Alternatively, they can catch it and eat it. The species is regarded as something of a delicacy and is much appreciated in its homeland and in European countries such as Sweden.

Last year the economic affairs ministry came up with a plan to promote crayfish fishing in the Netherlands which could solve the problem and provide a tidy profit for fishermen at the same time, NOS writes.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.