Over-harvesting

For long ages the noble crayfish settled the rivers of our country so plentifully that, apart from Russia, Poland was the most crayfish-rich country in Europe.  It was found in the territory of the whole country till the end of the 19 century and it was a precious source of proteins and finances. If there was no market for crayfishes that were already caught, people used to burn them and the ashes were used as a field fertilizer. There were no obligatory permissions for such activity.

The following data may illustrate the changes in the number of the crayfish population. 99 % of captured crayfishes were exported, so in 1927 -  611 tones of crayfishes were exported, in 1938 as many as 73, whereas in 1952 only 84 tones. Since 1970s the crayfish catch did not exceed 10 tones and continued to decline. Since 2000 as the noble crayfish protection was introduced, the annual crayfish catch has not exceeded 1 tone including an illegal catch. At present most of legally captured noble crayfishes are used for restitution, i.e. reconstruction of the population of this species.

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