Illinois DNR says anglers should avoid red swamp crayfish – Outdoor News

Alton, Ill. — DNR sent a public reminder to anglers and outdoor fans on May 8 warning that possessing live red swamp crayfish is prohibited in Illinois.

“Red swamp crayfish compete aggressively with native species for food and habitat, and they’ve been known to cause structural damage to property,” said Illinois Conservation Police Officer Brandon Fehrenbacher, who oversees the DNR Office of Law Enforcement Invasive Species Unit. “These crayfish spread by escaping from live crawfish boils and from fishermen who illegally use them as bait.”


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Illinois is one of many states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, that prohibit the sale or possession of live red swamp crayfish to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.

Red swamp crayfish burrow into the soil around dams, irrigation systems, and levees and can cause severe and costly structural damage. They also destroy nesting and nursery grounds of aquatic species, compete with other fish and crayfish species for food and resources, and prey on the eggs of other aquatic life.