ROUNDTABLE - SESSION 2 EXPLOITATION, CONSERVATION AND LEGISLATION
The link between socioeconomics and conservation and the role of legislation in conservation work was discussed in the group with participants from nine European countries. Interest and knowledge among the general public, stakeholders and managers is the key to successful conservation of native crayfish species. Exploitation and conservation do not necessarily exclude each other. A controlled fishery, where it can be sustained, may be an essential tool for conservation by increasing the general awareness and involving more people in the task of protecting the native crayfish species. This strategy is mainly possible for the noble crayfish in the northern part of its distribution, where strong traditions connected to crayfish also exist. A balance between utilisation and overexploitation has to be found and local guidelines for sustainable exploitation produced. Media, the Internet and educational material aimed at schools and stakeholders are excellent ways of reaching a wide audience with information. Universal objectives, rules and regulations at the European level are desirable and the noble crayfish and the stone crayfish should be included in Annex II of the Habitat Directive. Based on this framework detailed regulations are best worked out at the national level, considering the specific crayfish situation in the country. Information about the legislation, the purpose of the legislation and the consequences when not obeying it should be distributed. Stricter regulation of the trade with live alien crayfish is vital because of the associated risk of introducing new diseases and species.