New Blog – a While Ago, Some Genius Thought It Would Be a Good Idea to Introduce the American Signal Crayfish to Our Waters…

Posted: 01 August 2011, in Blog

….”Over there, over there, send the word, send the word over there, that the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming…” George M Cohan (1917)

What is your initial reaction when you hear the words United States of America? You are probably conflicted. All the good stuff comes with all the bad stuff, but the good stuff does outweigh the bad stuff IMO.  Anyway, I want to talk about American invaders and how to beat them. A while ago, some genius thought it would be a good idea to introduce the American Signal Crayfish to our waters. This ranks with those other great ideas; The London Olympics and voting for Tony Blair as ideas that on reflection…………. well never mind.

Anyway Pacifastacus leniusculus is currently doing as much damage to the ecology of our lochs, canals and rivers as the Greeks are doing to the concept of One Europe, One Currency etc.

The Herald carries a story (30/06/11) describing desperate measures that are being taken to stop this marauding omnivore from entering new waters in Scotland – (It is all over England unfortunately). Once they enter a new water course it is pretty much curtains for the local ecology and the indigenous crayfish and umpteen other critters are powerless to defend themselves. Think Grey and Red squirrel to get the picture.

Here is the good news. They taste great and there are loads of them so fishing for them makes perfect sense. We’ll never rid ourselves of them but they could become a new manageable and sustainable food source. Think organic, low food miles etc if that floats your boat as well. Here is the bad news. Jobsworths and bureaucrats don’t allow this sort of thing, it is a crime to catch them – God knows why.

So, from a social enterprise point of view, here is a business proposition. Anyone out there from the sticks who wants to protect the environment, employ folk (make it a social firm?), harvest an enemy of local fauna and get into the food business? Hell, you will probably get a medal from some Angling Society for helping clear their waters up. The only barriers are the Civil Service and raising a bit of cash. A couple of grant applications or a loan should get you on your way (the equipment required is fairly basic and you’ll need some transport) and I suggest that you get every angler/voter in Scotland to sign up for your (necessary) Facebook campaign to change the law – can you name an SNP Minister who would resist fighting off an invader?

Throw in a bit of a celebrity chef thing and we might actually create something worth a few bob. I’m thinking of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Nick Nairn having a cook off with celebrity endorsement from Michelle Mone, JK Rowling, Andy Murray and Sean Connery – the original and best James Bond- an Edinburgh lad naturally!  An additional idea would be to copy the Loch Fyne folk (a great social enterprise) and open up a restaurant to make even more money further down the value chain.  A word of caution though, the wee buggers are aggressive and deliver a nasty nip when cornered – sounds like a few social entrepreneurs I know!


NOTE: This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition or endorse any political position.

Readers should note that it is illegal for anyone to fish for crayfish anywhere in Scotland without a licence issued by the Scottish Government. It is also illegal to transport any live crayfish or introduce live crayfish into any waterbody. This includes garden ponds, canals, streams, rivers, lochs or reservoirs.