Crawfish

Crawfish

Crawfish

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Crawfish (U.S., farmed)
Best
Low

MORE ABOUT CRAWFISH

The crayfish is the little crustacean of southern legend, also known as a crawdad, crawfish or mudbug. Unlike lobster, crayfish grow primarily in fresh waters in the southeastern United States and are also farmed. The crayfish's tail meat is scant compared to its body, but it has a memorably sweet, rich taste.

Commercial Sources

Red swamp crayfish are native to the swamps of southeastern United States. However, they have been widely introduced into Europe, Asia and other parts of North America.

The main sources of red swamp crayfish are the United States, China and Spain.

Capture Methods

Red swamp crayfish come from inland fisheries and fish farms. Wild crayfish are primarily caught with traps, while farmed crayfish are raised in ponds.

+-Crawfish (U.S., wild)
OK
Low

MORE ABOUT CRAWFISH

The crayfish is the little crustacean of southern legend, also known as a crawdad, crawfish or mudbug. Unlike lobster, crayfish grow primarily in fresh waters in the southeastern United States and are also farmed. The crayfish's tail meat is scant compared to its body, but it has a memorably sweet, rich taste.

Commercial Sources

Red swamp crayfish are native to the swamps of southeastern United States. However, they have been widely introduced into Europe, Asia and other parts of North America.

The main sources of red swamp crayfish are the United States, China and Spain.

Capture Methods

Red swamp crayfish come from inland fisheries and fish farms. Wild crayfish are primarily caught with traps, while farmed crayfish are raised in ponds.

+-Crawfish (imported)
Worst
Unknown

More about Crawfish

Crawfish farmed in China are rated as an "Avoid" due to limited data availability and weak regulations and management, particularly for fertilizer use and effluents. Crawfish in China are an invasive species and carry diseases that could spread to native populations. Farmed crawfish in China are non-native and a highly invasive species, indicating that the environmental impact of escapes could potentially be high. While disease has not been shown to be problematic for crawfish production, they are carriers of diseases that have the potential to spread to native crawfish and farmed shrimp populations.

China is the world's largest farmed crawfish producer. It supplies a majority of the imported farmed crawfish to the U.S., generally in the form of frozen peeled tails and whole-boiled product. Crawfish are farmed in China in ponds and rice paddies, with the majority of production centered in the middle and lower regions of the Yangtze River. No feeds are added, but farmers fertilize the water to support an aquatic food web that the crawfish can utilize. While the pond water exchange is infrequent, the use of fertilizer and the weak regulatory and management effectiveness governing this effluent is a high concern.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Crawfish (U.S., farmed) Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Crawfish (U.S., wild) Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Crawfish (imported) Unknown 4 4 4 4
Eco details: 

Although some U.S. crawfish are captured in the wild, most are farmed in rice fields or ponds. Crawfish eat natural vegetation, so no feed or chemicals are needed.

Crawfish are also farmed in China, where they are considered an invasive species and escapes have disrupted aquatic ecosystems.