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Germany

Berlin responds to crayfish invasion: if you cannot beat them, eat them

To halt the invasion, the Berlin government has licensed a local business to fish the North American crayfish out of the ponds in public parks they have taken over

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 1:59am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 8:05am

North American crayfish that spilled en masse onto Berlin streets last summer will soon appear in the city’s restaurants after its government authorised fishermen to remove them from public ponds.

The red swamp crayfish, or Procambarus clarkii, is on the European Union’s list of invasive alien species but also popular in German aquariums.

It is likely some were abandoned by their owners and started multiplying in favourable weather, the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union believes.

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To halt the invasion, the Berlin government has licensed a local business to fish the 15cm (6 inch) crustaceans, which carry infections that native crayfish are not resistant to, out of the ponds in public parks that they have taken over.

The licence runs until the end of the year, and some 1,600 crayfish have been captured so far, Derk Ehlert, a wildlife expert for the Berlin senate, told the German news agency dpa.

Tests have established that the crayfish are fit for consumption, and the fishermen plan to sell them to local restaurants, dpa said.