Crawfish have been found in Michigan and that state’s Department of Natural Resources is not happy. They say the red swamp crayfish damage earthen structures and compete aggressively for food and habitat, disrupting the food chain for many species in the water. LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Specialist Greg Lutz says while crawfish are well adapted to our geography,
“Their burrowing habits have them considered to be a plague in other parts of the world where they’ve been introduced.”
Red swamp crayfish are a prohibited species in Michigan. Lutz says their DNR is probably concerned about the white spot syndrome, which is a viral disease seen in Louisiana crawfish ponds.
“Anything that’s unknown or foreign, typically raises a lot of red flags for a resource manager and that’s what you’re seeing up there in states like Michigan.”
Crawfish are extremely fertile and can lay up to 600 eggs at a time and reproduce twice a year. Lutz says that means, there could be the chance of a Red Swamp Crayfish population becoming established in Michigan.
“They’re pretty resilient. There are not a lot of documented examples of them becoming established that far north but they get through some pretty brutal winters here in Louisiana.”