If you want to catch crayfish, you must have written permission from the Environment Agency and follow their strict rules

The law surrounding the trapping of crayfish is very strict. This is mainly due to the Seventies crash of imported farmed crayfish when many North American crayfish escaped in to native waters. Our small white-claw crayfish have been threatened ever since, as the intruders are bigger, stronger and breed faster, and they brought associated plagues to which native species are highly susceptible.

In June 2005 the Environment Agency (EA) introduced a list of crayfish by-laws that, under certain conditions, would allow the trapping of non-native crayfish in England and Wales. No one is allowed to trap native crayfish, only the larger “alien” varieties. Any fisherman who catches an alien crayfish must kill it rather than return it to the water.

You can only catch crayfish with the permission of the EA.

The easiest way to catch crayfish is with a trap. Your local EA needs to know exactly where you will be setting your trap, and you must attach the identifiers the EA gives you. Permission will be dependent on the situation and the EA will take in to account the possible effect that trapping could have on other species. As many water courses run through private property it would be your responsibility to obtain permission from the landowner before you start. All traps must be inspected every 24 hours.

Your local EA office will advise on the best place to purchase crayfish traps and give you a guide on identifying invasive species. When purchasing a trap it is important not to buy one with too large a mouth, which is often the case with illegal traps, as the EA has seen a spate of otters drowning in them.

Using a line with meat attached is not a recommended way of catching crayfish and is not covered by the licence

  • Restless Native

    Reply to David. If you go to the enviroment agency
    online. They explain it all. Spread of crayfish plauge and protection of rare animals such as Water Voles/Otters. The liscence is free!

  • donot know




  • Kenneth johns

    I took my grandsons crabbing on the norfolk broads, a regular passtime, at burgh castle. they had a net which was described as an “eel” net, which they use to keep the crabs in inder water, until the final “count” after one hours fishing.they catch the crabs on a line with a net attached, containing bacon….a broads authority ranger came by in his boat, and told us that “crayfish nets were Illegal on the broads, so they emptied their crabs into the river.We had no Idea that this was a crayfish net, or that it was Illegal on the broads, as this is not publicesed information. Any Comments on this, and the laws?

  • smokeyjoe

    crayfish r gayfish

  • crayfishrshit

    i loved it i wanna touch it up

  • idontlikecrayfishdotcom

    it is shit

  • Peter

    Great article, i got a license pretty easy and brought a few crayfish traps from http://www.ronniesunshines.com/crayfish-trap-crab-fish-p-1052.html they comply with regulations & i’ve found the best bait bait to use for cray fish is smelly macherel fish heads.