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Freshwater Crayfish 12(1): 878-889 (1999)


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Crayfish management plans - experiences from Norway, Lithuania and Estonia

Skurdal J, Taugbøl T, Burba A and Tuusti J  e-mail link

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Management plans are important tools in environmental management and are well known from the management of protected areas and national parks. In view of the current situation in Europe where most native crayfish species are considered vulnerable or threatened we wanted to explore the potential of applying the concept of management planning on freshwater crayfish. During the last five years we have developed crayfish management plans for Norway, Lithuania and Estonia. The crayfish situation as well as the management of crayfish varies between the three countries. The noble crayfish Astacus astacus is the only native crayfish in all three countries and this is also the only freshwater crayfish species in Norway and Estonia. In Lithuania, on the other hand, there are three more species; the European narrow-clawed crayfish Astacus leptodactylus, and two North American species, the signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus and the spiny-cheek crayfish Orconectes limosus. The crayfish management plans consist of a status report describing the current crayfish situation and an action plan for future crayfish management. The crayfish status report includes both historical and current data on distribution, abundance, harvest, diseases, introductions and management, and also the main threats to the crayfish. The management action plans focus on necessary actions for a sound management of the crayfish populations. In all three countries the native noble crayfish have declined both in distribution and in abundance, and the main threats are pollution, habitat deterioration, crayfish plague and introduced crayfish. The total crayfish catch in the three countries has declined from some 300 tons to 10 tons during this century. There is, however, a considerable potential for improving the distribution and abundance of the noble crayfish by restoring populations and crayfish habitats, preventing spreading of diseases and introduced American crayfish species, and developing optimal harvest regulations.

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Skurdal J, Taugbøl T, Burba A and Tuusti J. (1999). Crayfish management plans - experiences from Norway, Lithuania and Estonia. Freshwater Crayfish 12(1):878-889. doi:



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