Crayfish invade the Nile? Catch ’em, eat ’em and sell ’em!

Aquatic ecologist Magdy Khalil has the most unusual of jobs. He’s traveling from community to community along the river Nile, teaching Egyptian fishermen and farmers about the American crayfish.

That’s because Egypt’s best-known river is suffering from a crayfish invasion. Procambarus Clarkii to be exact. It’s a native of Louisiana and relatively new to Egypt. Now it’s clawing and burrowing is damaging Nile river fishing and farming industries.

“In the 1980’s somebody came to me and said that there was a new creature in the river Nile,” says Khalil. “After two days of examination, we determined it was the fresh water crayfish. It has no natural predator in the Nile.”

With no natural predator, scientists say, the crayfish was free to roam from where the Nile meets Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, down toward the arid nation’s border with Sudan…

According to the Louisiana Crayfish Promotion and Research Board, the crayfish meat industry is responsible for a $120 million/year impact on Louisiana’s economy.

“You see in Louisiana they are eating it, cooking it — there are many festivals for the crayfish. We need to do the same here,” Khalil says.

Convince Nile fishermen to stop whining and start trapping mudbugs – have an Egyptian Crawfish Festival or two – and they’d make money while broadening their nation’s diet.

4 thoughts on “Crayfish invade the Nile? Catch ’em, eat ’em and sell ’em!

  1. Meanwhile says:

    6/13/14 For the first time researchers have produced and observed anxiety-like behavior in crayfish, which disappears when a dose of anxiolytic is injected. Results suggest neuronal mechanisms related to anxiety have been preserved throughout evolution (and) this analysis of ancestral behavior in a simple animal model opens up new avenues for studying the neuronal bases for this emotion.

  2. Update says:

    “Chinese companies turn unwanted Nile River crayfish into money-making delicacy” (2019) Chinese investors built the first factory in Egypt for processing and exporting crayfish in 2003, and now the number of factories has increased to about 10. Between 2014 and 2017, 80 percent of the imported crayfish in China came from Egypt.
    “How Louisiana crayfish became China’s national dish”
    “Eating Crawfish in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana” By Calvin Trillin (New Yorker)

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