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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 remove. 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 crayfish problem.


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