The crayfish is a very promising aquaculture species. This book
is one of the few sources for complete information on all aspects of the culture of
large-sized freshwater crayfish. Compiled from leading-edge research direct from
University and individual findings all over the U.S., this book dispels the hype and
furnishes the facts about this well known and highly prized aquaculture species.
Fish farmers have become major players in this bottomless market in only a couple of
years. Small scale family run operations are harvesting 'short lobsters' in less than
a year, and the start-up costs are low. Included in the book are photos, food and
feeding regimens needed to raise crayfish to giant size, well managed pond factors,
hatching and juvenile production, stocking methods, sources of supply
Crayfish Suppliers , sale & processing tips, and marketing
recommendations. This book is easy to read, well organized, and packed with hard to find
information. Targets the small farmer or homesteader.
Look at these huge crawfish! How did they get so big? The answer is simple...
ideal growing conditions. These are a common
variety of crayfish found all over the U.S. except the South where summers are too hot
for them. Given the right conditions, they can attain this size (and larger!) in a
single season. After the first year, crayfish are 'self-stocking', meaning they
propagate naturally if allowed to. It is more efficient to raise the young in tanks
(giving a 98% survival rate), but that requires a little more effort. Careful harvesting
can produce ever-larger specimens if the largest crayfish are returned to the pond to
reproduce. The best production is obtained with a combination of natural and
processed feeds and lots of room. Crowding can stunt the growth of young crayfish greatly.
1 sq. foot per cray is ideal. Natural sources of food include hay, grass and other vegetation.
Processed feeds include range pellets, dog food, sinking fish food, and of course crayfish feed.
Stock can be obtained from existing crayfish farms as juveniles or adults, or one can
capture a local variety of crawdad quite easily.
(left) This is a somewhat rare variety of crayfish (Pacifasticus), found in
Pacific Northwest streams and lakes. It grows much larger than other varieties in the
U.S.; unfortunately it takes 18 months or so to mature and breed. This makes it not too
well suited for culture..except in that region.
Sometimes called a 'short lobster,
this variety can be raised indoors in tanks. These can be relatively easy and
inexpensive to establish and manage. Using tanks can create an extended growing season,
necessary in colder climates. Other benefits of tank culture include..controlled
environmental factors (turbidity, temperature, waste management), safety from predators,
and controlled feed intake--all of which produce maximum growth rate, highly efficient
reproduction rates, and the highest possible weight at harvest. Simple selective
breeding can increase the size and disease resistance of successive generations, as in
the now famous 'Super Shrimp' of Mexico.
There are over 300 species of freshwater crayfish in the U.S.A...all sizes, colors,
temperments. There are several varieties that thrive in almost every environmental niche.
Some are better suited for farming than others, and there is a suitable species for almost
any climate in the U.S.
Reviewer: A reader from Paintsville, KY: "This is an excellent source of
information for people who want to start a crayfish farming business. It covers all
aspects, including pond and tank culture, sexing, feeding requirements, and sources
from'BACKWOODS HOME MAGAZINE' by Dave Duffy, editor: "This is a
small but useful book..a bare bones 'how-to' manual on how to raise crayfish in a small
country setting. Wilson is a clear, informative writer, and this book is in that vein..
short and to the point. No fluff. I like it a lot."
Reviewer: Terri Primavera:
"Both this book and the Red Claw book were great! I stayed up really late perusing
them last night. I'm hoping to visit a couple of local farms in the near future in the
hopes to learn more about starting my own crayfish farm.
from 'AQUACULTURE MAGAZINE' by James W. Avault, book review editor & former editor of
the Journal of World Mariculture: "This 45 page book is broken down into two sections,
easy to read, well organized..and packed with information."