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Freshwater Crayfish 12(1): 495-505 (1999)


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Review of historical and recent crayfish fishery, catch, trade and utilisation in Finland

Westman K  e-mail link

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At present there are three freshwater crayfish species in Finland. Two, the noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) and the narrow-clawed crayfish (Astacus leptodactylus) are native species, and one, the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), is introduced. The commercial crayfish fishery expanded and exports increased at the end of the 1800s. The peak year was 1900, when 15.5 million crayfish were exported, making Finland Europe´s leading exporter of the commodity. About half of the exports went to Russia, 33% to Sweden, 14% to Germany and 3% to Denmark. Just a few years later exports plummeted due to the crayfish plague. At its greatest, the crayfish catch amounted to ca. 20 million specimens per year. In recent years the catch has been 3-5 million specimens, i.e. ca. 110-120 tonnes. About 97-98% of the catch is A. astacus and the rest P. leniusculus. Finland seems to be the largest producer of the noble crayfish in Europe. Crayfish fishing had considerable economic significance for Finland in the early years of this century, especially as a means to increase the income of the growing population owning no land. Professional and semi-professional fishermen may have numbered in thousands. Since then, the decline in crayfish stocks has decreased the number of professional fishermen. By contrast, the number of recreational fishermen has increased. There are currently about 100,000 crayfish fishermen in Finland. The total economic value of the crayfish catch in 1996 was about FIM 28 million (ca. US $ 5 million).

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Westman K. (1999). Review of historical and recent crayfish fishery, catch, trade and utilisation in Finland. Freshwater Crayfish 12(1):495-505. doi:



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