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Freshwater Crayfish 12(1): 927-928 (1999)


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Planning of a commercially viable crayfish farm for production of Astacus astacus (L.)

von Engelmann D  e-mail link

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This planning of a farm for aquaculture of noble crayfish, Astacus astacus, in the 'Region de Perche' in western France was based on the climatic, topographic and economic conditions of a 13 ha plot in this area. All permissions necessary for the project have been obtained. The target production is 21,000 kg of life crayfish for consumption and 160,000 juveniles for restocking, as well as 10,500 small ornamental fish. It is well known that, especially in France, one of the most important handicaps for running commercially seized crayfish farms is the lack of water of suitable temperature and high purity in sufficient quantity. Water from wells or creeks is too cold and water from rivers is too polluted. For this reason we decided to use spring water for our farm and heat it to the optimal temperature for the different age groups of crayfish. After ruling out solar heating for being too costly, we planned to use the cheap night electricity in France for heating. This energy is still too costly to be used in a flow through system which led us to decide to use recirculating systems. Our planned crayfish farm is subdivided into two separate systems for crayfish broodstock, five systems for yearlings 0+, two systems for juveniles 1+ and three grow out systems for crayfish 2+. Each system consists of an upper and a lower storage basin and a number of production basins inbetween. The water flows from the upper storage basin through the production basins into a mechanical filter and from there into a biological filter which is in the lower storage basin. From there the clean water is pumped back during the night into the upper storage basin where the water is heated and oxygenated. This process is planned to be computer controlled. If cooling of the water should be necessary during hot summer days we can simply add cold well water. To avoid heat losses the production and storage basins are planned to be insulated on their sides and surfaces as far as possible. All production basins are to be equipped with numerous hiding places adapted to the sizes of the crayfish kept. In order to reduce growth of phytoplankton and zooplankton in our systems, small ornamental fish are bred in the storage basins. The 13 ha plot consists of hilly land and includes a small river carrying water from near-by springs. On the plot there are two springs and a well. We have got permission to use 15 l/s water from all sources together. The water data are as follows: temperature river = 6.8-15.2°C; temperature springs = 8.5-11°C; pH = 7.5; CaO river = 50-110 mg/l; CaO springs = 85-140 mg/l; NH4 = 0-0.1 mg/l, NO2 river = 0.025-0.075 mg/l, NO2 springs = 0 mg/l; NO3 river = 10-40 mg/l; NO3 springs = 0 mg/l; P = 0.2-0.25 mg/l; Fe river = 0.2-0.9 mg/l; Fe springs = 0.1-0.2 mg/l; CO2 river = 6.7-14.7 mg/l; CO2 springs = 11.3-20 mg/l. The existing buildings could house facilities for production of Artemia salina nauplii and Tubifex tubifex as life feed for the crayfish hatchlings as well as deep freezing storage equipment and a kitchen for food preparation. Crayfish are planned to be directly marketed in Germany, Finland and Sweden (crayfish > 100 g) and France (crayfish of 80-100 g).

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von Engelmann D. (1999). Planning of a commercially viable crayfish farm for production of Astacus astacus (L). Freshwater Crayfish 12(1):927-928. doi:



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