Delft and The Hague’s water boards have launched a plan to map the occurrence of Procambarus clarkii, or red swamp crayfish, which has invaded Dutch rivers and ditches, public broadcaster NOS reports.
The crayfish, thought to have travelled from their native United States in the ballast tanks of large freighters, are proliferating at a fast rate and are posing a threat to other animal species, NOS writes. It is also damaging riverbanks by digging holes and cutting off water plants with their pincers.
The animal is about 15 centimetres long and can be seen going walkabout on land and paved roads. It has been spotted in other parts of the country as well but not in such great numbers as in the Delft region.
People who spot a crayfish can use the form on the water authorities’ website to tell them about it. Alternatively, they can catch it and eat it.
The species is regarded as something of a delicacy and is much appreciated in its homeland and in European countries such as Sweden.
Last year the economic affairs ministry came up with a plan to promote crayfish fishing in the Netherlands which could solve the problem and provide a tidy profit for fishermen at the same time, NOS writes.