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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 23-10-2007, 09:41 PM
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Crayfish trapping license

Having read back all the previous threads on this (often hotly debated) topic, I'm still not sure what the score is on obtaining a trapping license.

I'm one of a group of people locally who would want to trap and consume crayfish, and we have seen evidence of their presence in our local waterways (the Gade and Bourne specifically).

I've called the Fisheries Laboratories (or whatever they're called now) and whilst they've said they'll send me a pack, I'm wondering what the chances are that a license will be issued.

Has anyone actually applied for and been refused or granted a license to trap? Specifically interested in the Herts/Beds/Bucks/N. London areas, but curious about the rest of the country too..

Please don't let me be the start of a heated debate about the rights and wrongs again, I want to work within the law and with a sensible, sustainable and positive approach to this...
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Old 24-10-2007, 10:10 AM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

I really wouldn't worry about it mate - just go trapping. So long as there are no whiteclaw crayfish populations on the stretch that you're trapping, no one is going to fine you. The only people that will get snotty are the ones that have spent ages like me trying to jump through the hoops in order to get a license - trust me - licenses are a waste of time, unless you're an ecologist that is specifically intersted in surverying white claws.

The fishing community have been banging on about this for ages as it annoys them that they can't eat or kill them since they catch them on hook and line time and time again. The EA have now asking them not to put them back. The best thing you can do is to phone your local wild life trust and ask them if the rivers you're interested in have had white claws in them, ask when the last one was recorded and then ask if american crayfish are in there and for how long. The two can't co-exist for more than a couple of years, so if they've been in there for long, tuck in and enjoy.
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Old 24-10-2007, 10:44 AM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

Just make sure you dont take white claws, that would be a nightmare, with all there current pressure.
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Old 25-10-2007, 09:21 PM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

This is something that I too have been trying to follow up. Anywhere, locally, the american signals are bad news - why then is it that the fisheries authorities I have had any form of response from seem to be very protective of these alien invaders. "Unfortunately, we do not currently permit the trapping of crayfish...." I bet the local water bailifs and wardens don't have any problems "doing a random sample" knocked back with a nice light white wine on a Sunday afternoon. All in the interests of monitoring Signal Crayfish of course.
As to a licence - maybe all we need is the one from the DVLA so we can drive to crayfish hotspots!
For all you budding trappers, try this site.
Jarnn Fishing supply crayfish traps throughout America, Europe and the UK
You can get 2 traps, including postage to UK address for a little over a tenner!
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Old 25-10-2007, 10:27 PM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

This is from the Defra site -
Defra, UK - Fisheries - Salmon and freshwater fisheries - Crayfish

NATIONAL CRAYFISH TRAPPING BYELAWS
On 1 June 2005, the Environment Agency introduced a package of crayfish Byelaws that will allow them, under certain conditions, to approve the trapping of crayfish in England and Wales. In the past only the Thames Region of the Environment Agency had the authority to allow this activity.
The hope is that the byelaws will aid in the control non-native populations, and where appropriate, commercially exploit them. They also hope that these byelaws will go some way towards protecting the remaining native crayfish populations.
If you are thinking of trapping crayfish you should bear in mind that there are a number of conditions that need to be met. Permission to trap will be dependent on local situations, in particular the presence of the native crayfish. The EA will also take into account the possible detrimental effect that trapping could have on other species, such as protected animals like otters and water voles. Many water courses go through private properties and it will be your responsibility to obtain the permission of the landowner before you commence. You should also try and ensure that the traps are inspected every 24 hours, and disinfected after use.
You should also be aware that if you reintroduce the caught crayfish into any other waters, without the required licence, you could be liable for prosecution under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and this could result in a heavy fine.
We would strongly advise you to seek advice from your local Environment Agency Officer before you make an application.
Crayfish trapping advice packs are available from the National Fisheries Laboratory 01480 483968. Further information on these byelaws can be found on the Environment Agency website.

Maybe the more people request these trapping advice packs the sooner Defra will have to wake up.
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Old 25-10-2007, 10:48 PM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

Well I appreciate the sentiments of "just go trapping", but to be honest I'm really uncomfortable taking the chance. At the moment I'm not even 100% sure of a signal population. Lets just say I've been trying to take some "random samples" myself, but have found it more difficult that many would lead me to believe!

As an update I got my pack from the EA today, and having had a good read through I'm probably no closer to knowing whether I will be able to obtain a license. Part of the problem for me is that I'm not certain exactly where the signals are, and yet I need to specify a grid reference for the stretch of water I want to fish... Catch 22. Also apparently I need to get permission from the owner of the water I want to fish. If its a river through a public park, I guess its the local council, right? If so I reckon I've got about 0% chance of finding the right person to give that permission! How about the canals? I suppose if I was a rod and line fisherman I might have a bit more of a clue about it, but that has never appealed to me.

All in all it does seem that the policy keeps people from actively working to control (or exploit) the population of these aliens, but perhaps as you say a few more requests for these packs and the EA might realise that it is a viable option to allow enthusiastic amateurs like me to get involved.

As an aside, the pack suggests that it might require hundreds of kilos, maybe even tonnes of crayfish to be removed to affect a change in the population and I would need to be sure I could dispose of these humanely and safely... I feel a few bbqs coming on if I can get a license!
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Old 25-10-2007, 11:02 PM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

canals wise - fishing / trapping from the tow path it would be BW - from the offside it will be who ever the landowner is , unless fishing rioghts have been sold to a club
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Old 27-10-2007, 08:09 PM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

There is no provision for the EA to refuse a crayfish trapping licence. You will have to abide by the conditions of the licence. I would set them at night to avoid you being spotted setting your traps and having them pinched. Be discreet and hide the recovery line. Don't set them where they might be snagged by anglers. Set them in a fleet if using a boat. Anchor them well to prevent them beeing washed away by rising river levels or wash from vessels if in a canal. For those reasons, the flat bottomed traps are the best, cylindrical ones roll around.
Carp boilies make good bait, long lasting, clean handling and tasty.
Above all, purge the crays you catch for at least 24 hours to remove the gut contents. Enjoy.
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Old 27-10-2007, 09:14 PM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Woodman View Post
There is no provision for the EA to refuse a crayfish trapping licence. .
thats not entirely accurate - they can refuse to licence any individual who they have reason to believe wont abide by the terms of the licence , any stretch of water where native crays are still present, or any area where you do not have landowner consent
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Old 29-10-2007, 06:20 PM
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Re: Crayfish trapping license

I spoke to our local EA Consenting Officer today about the issue and he told me that licences to trap Signals are issued only for areas defined by certain postcodes i.e. where Signals occur. I could not get one to fish for them in Cumbria because they are not present here except for a population in the River Derwent /St Johns Beck near Keswick.

He told me that the EA cannot refuse an applicant a licence for any reason other than licence conditions and area of fishing for selected species.

I think the best advice is to contact your local EA Fisheries Dept for the best regional advice. Good luck.
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