Crayfish disease diagnostics

Towards a Nordic standard

image of Crayfish disease diagnostics

Crayfish utilization is a long-standing Scandinavian tradition, which unfortunately has suffered a major drawback with the introduction of crayfish plague disease about a hundred years ago. In spite of intensive research many problems in management and diagnosis of this disease are not yet solved. To evaluate ongoing research and diagnostic methodology in different countries, representatives of diagnostic laboratories involved in crayfish disease diagnostics were invited to a workshop in Kuopio to discuss the problems with crayfish diseases. The workshop was held at the Kuopio unit of the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira. Participants from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia and Latvia were present, as well as the OIE expert from the reference laboratory for crayfish plague. In the programme of the first day the state of crayfish stocks, crayfish diseases and diagnostic methods used in each country were presented and discussed. During the second day diagnostic methods were discussed in detail, as well as research projects concerning crayfish diseases. The workshop has been made possible by way of a grant from the Nordic Council of Ministers.



Crayfish and crayfish disease in Estonia

Noble crayfish Astacus astacus (L.) is the only freshwater decapod species in Estonia. No introduced alien species incl. signal crayfish. The data about crayfish situation in Estonia are mainly based on test fishing with traps. According to data from 1993-2006 noble crayfish is present in 256 lakes or streams. More than half of them (53%) are sparse – CPUE below 1. In one third of crayfish sites is moderate population. Only 14% of crayfish populations are dense or very dense (CPUE over 4). The best crayfish region is the island Saaremaa, which is a crayfish plaque free refugium. In 2004-2006 the reported catch of fishermen was stable remaining between 7300- 7600 specimens.


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