In the American south, crayfish are prized for their appetizing qualities, but when the red swamp crustaceans began invading new and unfamiliar turf in Berlin over the past year, they were anything but popular in the German city.
It is believed the North American crawfish, or Procambarus clarkii, were abandoned by their owners — as if they are common pets — but unlike in their natural habitat, these crayfish are considered invasive alien species that are disrupting the local marine and swamp life, carrying infections that local species cannot fight off.
To combat the growing infestation, the Berlin government began issuing special licenses to local businesses to fish as many of the crustaceans their nets can hold and the natural destination for the catch is on plates across the city.
Berlin environmental authorities have ruled the crayfish fit for human consumption as they contained no dangerous levels of metal or other toxins.
Since granting the licenses only a week ago, more than 1,600 crayfish have been removed from Berlin waters and are now making their way onto local restaurant menus. But while this new catch may prove to be a hit with diners, it isn’t expected to last. The hope is to rid the city of these invasive critters, so once they are gone, so will be their place on Berlin menus.