My idea is important to not only protect many fishing waters (Weather people agree or disagree with fishing Fishing clubs are usually the only people that look after and maintain river banks and lakes and without them most will become dumping grounds at the worst and overgrown and inaccessible at the leas) but also the ongoing impact the Red Signal Crayfish are having on our environment. They are breeding at such a fast rate and are pretty much being left alone to do so. Other things need to be done to help reduce the numbers but actively encouraging people to catch and eat them rather than making people obtain a licence to do so will obviously help.
I think the need to obtain a trapping licence in order to catch American Red Signal Crayfish should be abolished and people should be activly incouraged to catch and eat them. I am a fisherman and my local river the Lee is full of them. I have copied the enviromental damage that these are causing below but also from a fishermans point of view they are making fishing in a lot of rivers and lakes in England almost impossible due to the fact that Crayfish will chew off any bait fished on the lake/river bed. A lot of clubs employ people to trap and remove them from thier waters but even this does not even make a dent in their population.
The signal crayfish has had a significant impact on the ecosystems it has colonised in Great Britain. It is a fast growing, highly fecund, aggressive, veracious species, which has few natural predators once it reaches maturity. Being omnivorous they will eat most small aquatic fauna and flora. Signal crayfish burrow, causing extensive damage to riparian verges and subsequently to the whole ecosystem. They predate on and out-compete a number of native species, including several environmentally important fish such as bullheads and stone loach, amphibians, and invertebrate species. Of particular note is the white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), the only native crayfish species in the U.K. The white-clawed crayfish has been in significant decline in parts of England for some time. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as pollution and habitat degradation, but an increasingly significant factor has been directcompetition and predation by signal crayfish. To compound the situation further, North American crayfish species, including the signal crayfish, carry a fungal infection called the crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci), which is lethal to European crayfish (including our native white-clawed crayfish) and has resulted in their eradication from a number of waters in England. The presence of signal crayfish places a major restriction on national efforts to protect and rehabilitate our native crayfish species.