The major producers of crawfish are found in the United States of America. Louisiana supplies over 92% of the crustacean harvested in the world. They produce over 100 million tons of the crustaceans.
The popular species consumed by locals are the red swamp crawfish and white river crawfish amounting to 70% of total production. Top producers of crawfish are USA, Australia, New Zealand and North America.
Crawfish grows in different habitat but need fresh clean water. Common places to find them are swamps, paddy fields. Others are steams, brooks, ponds, ditches.
- Fresh clean water
- Paddy fields
Crayfish are sold as bate, eaten as food or kept as pets. The Procambarus clarkia is a golden freshwater aquarium pet found alongside popular fish like goldfish, bass and Bluetail.
In captivity they are fed on algae wafers, shrimp pellets, vegetation. The edible crustacean is boiled or added in soups. Only a small portion is eaten, however some people manage the claw meat and other portions.
Commercial fishermen and sport fishermen commonly buy them as bate. The tail meat could be sold separately or alongside live crawfish.
Popular fish caught buy anglers using crawfish bate are trout, smallmouth bass, pike, and channel catfish. Declawing is a usual practice in the bate industry to reduce damage or clawing.
- Sold as bate
- Eaten as food
- Kept as pets
What to Feed Them
Crawfish in captivity are fed algae wafers, shrimp pellets and aquatic vegetables. They eat shrimp pellets, small tropical fish, algae or molted exoskeleton, and Live aquarium plants.
- They eat algae wafers
- Shrimp pellets
- Aquatic vegetables
- They eat shrimp pellets
- Small tropical fish
- Live algae
- Their molted exoskeleton
- Live aquarium plants
There are three families of crawfish distributed worldwide. We have one in southern hemisphere, two northern hemisphere, two in North America and Western Eurasia. There are over hundred species of crawfish in the world.
Top ones found in aquaculture are Rusty crawfish, White river crawfish and Red swamp crawfish. The red swamp crawfish is the most popular eaten in most demography.
Other types are the western Yabby, Marron and largest freshwater crawfish Tasmanian giant Astacopsis gouldi.
- Rusty crawfish
- White river crawfish
- Red swamp crawfish
- Western Yabby
- Tasmanian giant Astacopsis gouldi
Site the Pond
Things to consider before siting the pond is accessibility and transportation. Others are land location, type of soil, availability of water.
More include crop residue usage, channel vegetation and bush management. Filter strips prevent sediment inflow, wells, irrigated field ditches, wildlife management and wetland development.
- Pond is accessibility
- Land location
- Type of soil
- Availability of water
- Crop residue usage
- channel vegetation
- bush management
- use Filter strips
- build wells
- irrigate field ditches
- Proper wildlife management
- Good wetland development
Ideal land for crawfish pond are flatlands with clay soil. Best soil composition are clay loamy, sandy clay loam and clay loam. Clay loam soil presents good burrowing for the crustacean and good water retention.
Study the topography for pond bottom to rest above the water level. The land should be above canals, drainage ditches for good water management. The water requirement is high so farmers should provide a good water source.
Crayfish are sometimes raised alongside rice fields. Make sure the field is secluded, secured and away from other fields or contaminants like pesticides.
Design and Construction
Crawfish grown in rice fields require a core trench cleared of debris. This effectively prevents water seepage from borrowing activity of crawfish. Make the perimeter levee 9 feet wide, 3 feet high to contain 10 to 12 inches of water.
Steep elevations prevent foliage growth and causes water management issues. It also affects the efficiency when harvesting the crustaceans. Refrain from digging deep ditches adjacent to a large perimeter fence because it restricts water flow and circulation.
Such ditches harbor predatory fish and are hard to drain. Instead use baffle leaves to guide water and aerate the pond. Place them 6 inch above water level and 6 feet wide.
Space them 200 feet apart to aid water circulation. Use perimeter levee, re-circulatory channels to minimize water discharge and increase water circulation. The quality of the water would determine the growth rate of the product.
Challenges Facing Pond
The major challenges in crawfish ponds are erosion. Others are aeration, water management, burrowing rodents, burrowing crawfish. Securing the broodstock is also another challenge.
To facilitate better water recirculation you can introduce paddlewheel aerators. The appropriate amount of levees should correlate to the pond size, demography and clim
atic conditions. Efficient water output, oxygenation and water irrigation is important.