The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht report that a number of cases are being prepared for prosecution under the Wildlife Acts following recent patrols for the illegal hunting of the important and protected native invertebrate species, White Clawed Crayfish (Austrapotamobius pallipes), along the Grand Canal in Kildare in co-operation with #KildareGardaDivision. White clawed Crayfish are a protected species under the Wildlife Acts.

In recent operations, nearly 500 suspected illegally caught crayfish have been seized and returned to the canal. Various nets and other equipment have also been seized from a number of individuals. Crayfish tails and claws are considered a delicacy in some cultures but it is unlawful to catch crayfish without a licence in Ireland.

Illegal crayfish harvesting on the canals

Unfortunately the disease, crayfish plague, is spreading and has been recorded from the Barrow system in Co. Kildare recently and in other catchments since 2015. This is a virulent water borne disease that is threatening all native stocks of white clawed crayfish. The illegal hunting of crayfish may be a contributing factor in the spread of the disease also.

Illegal crayfish net

Please contact NPWS or Gardai if you have any information on the illegal hunting of crayfish