Usually a total of some 3-4 million crayfish are caught annually. Most of the caught crayfish are signal crayfish, and noble crayfish make up the rest.
Catching and marketing of live crayfish
Storing live crayfish in a storage cage
After catching, live crayfish must be protected against light and excessive warming, which means the storage cage should be placed deep enough underwater and in a shady location. Water replacement must take place at a high rate inside and around the cage. In order to prevent the spreading of crayfish plague, the storage cages must never be kept in other natural waters than the waters in which the crayfish were caught. Live crayfish must not be moved from one natural waterway to another.
Delivering live crayfish for sale
Crayfishers/crayfish farmers, who are primary producers, can deliver live crayfish to fish establishments and food premises without any restriction of the number. Primary producers must submit the primary production notice to the food control authorities of the place of primary production . Private persons who sell crayfish that they have caught to fish establishments and food premises must also submit the primary production notice.
Crayfishers/crayfish farmers are permitted to deliver a total of a maximum of 5000 kg of live crayfish and other fishing products of primary production (uncleaned fish or fish cleaned onboard the vessel) per year directly to consumers. The primary production notice must be submitted to the authorities of this type of operation. Selling in market places and other outdoor locations as well as from a mobile food premises is comparable to delivery to the final consumer, and consequently crayfishers or crayfish farmers, who are primary producers, can sell live crayfish e.g. in a market place. If the total amount of live crayfish and other fishing products of primary production exceeds 5000 kg per year, the operators must either submit a food premises notice or apply for an approval of a foodestablishment. The notice/approval application is submitted to the food control authority of the food premise / establishment.
According to the fisheries legislation the crayfisher must register as commercial fisherman, if he/she is going to deliver crayfish to e.g. a restaurant, stallholder, wholesale or retail. The registration notice shall be submitted to the ELY-center. A recreational fisherman is only allowed to sell crayfish directly to the final consumers, with a maximum of 300 crayfish per year.
Information to be provided when marketing live crayfish
The following information about live crayfish must be provided to consumers:
- commercial and scientific name of the species (the scientific name can on case-by-case basis be given orally at the request of the buyer)
- production method
- caught in fresh water, or
- catch area/country of production
- caught crayfish: country of origin and name of the body of the water (river, lake etc.)
- farmed crayfish: country of origin
- fishing gear
When live crayfish are delivered to notified food premises or food establishments, they must be accompanied by a commercial document, which provides the information listed above, as well as the scientific name of the species, the amount of crayfish, the delivery date and information on the sender and the recipient.
Cooking of crayfish
The water must boil properly before the crayfish are placed in it. Dead crayfish may not be cooked for use as food. Live crayfish must be placed in the water one by one so that the water does not stop boiling. This ensures that the crayfish are killed as quickly as possible. After cooking, the crayfish must be cooled quickly. Cooked crayfish shall be stored at a temperature of ca. 0 °C, e.g. covered in ice. Frozen crayfish are to be kept at a temperature of -18 °C or colder.