Ironically, each time the UK's invasive crayfish receive a bit of
publicity the sales of imported Chinese crayfish, often labelled "Wild
Crayfish: Produced in the UK", increase.
The public purchase this crayfish tail-meat by the tonne, usually
unaware that the only thing that comes from the UK is the brine
added during packaging.
The UK annually imports millions of pounds worth of these processed
crayfish from China and the Far East. UK sales for Prêt a Manger
crayfish sandwiches totalled 2.2 million in 2002 and that Prêt
a Manger order alone required over 400 tonne of Red Swamp crayfish
to be commercially farmed and harshly processed in China.
Some traders will refer to them as “wild” but they were purposely
introduced to China as a business, and are fed and selectively
harvested as on any farm in Louisiana.
Also, UK waterways are clean but the quality of Chinese waters leaves
much to be desired.
Nowadays the UK is importing well over 1,000 tonnes of this tail-meat
per annum, and 7,000 tonnes of crayfish have to be trapped in China
to produce that tail-meat. A quite unnecessary import and
accompanying carbon-footprint while we have a far superior product
right here in the UK and, what is more, a product that we need to
Crayfish flavour is delicate and can easily be rendered bland during
processing. Chinese crayfish are cheap, but they provide virtually
nothing more than texture. My task would be a lot easier if we Brits
began to appreciate the value of quality food and relied on our taste-
buds instead of the labels. Our lips happily speak "green" but our
actions mostly do not, simply because it's easiest on the wallet.
The question has been how to get rid of enormous quantities of
invasive crayfish, and the answer, surely, is to replace imported
product with our own superior crayfish. If people bought homecaught
produce that replaced even 20% of the quantity that we currently
import, we would have a large-scale, cost-effective solution to our
CHINESE CRAYFISH IMPORTS
© CRAYAWAY 2013