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.

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 for example 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 for example 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. The primary production notice must be done of this type of operation.

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
    - farmed
  • catch area/country of production
    - caught crayfish: country of origin and name of the body of the water (river, lake and so on)
    - 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  0 – 3 °C. Frozen crayfish are to be kept at a temperature of -18 °C or colder.

Page last updated 8/6/2021