A review of freshwater crayfish introductions in Africa
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This review summarizes and analyses information on freshwater crayfish introductions in Africa. A total of 136 research papers and reports were found to be relevant. Forty-eight percent reported presence; 21% described negative impacts; 11% referred to potential socio-economic benefits; 9% evaluated control measures; 6% documented co-introduced parasites. Out of nine introduced crayfish species, five species Astacus astacus, Cherax quadricarinatus, Faxonius limosus, Procambarus clarkii, and Procambarus virginalis have established populations in the wild. Astacus astacus and F. limosus are present only in Morocco and P. virginalis is limited to Madagascar. Cherax quadricarinatus and P. clarkii have established populations in five and six countries, respectively. The main driver of crayfish introductions was to provide socio-economic benefits through aquaculture and fisheries development but there is limited evidence of success. Prevailing negative socio-economic impacts are linked to damage to agricultural water infrastructure, damage to fishing gear and declining fisheries performance. Ecological impacts pertain to direct and multi-trophic consumptive effects as well as indirect competitive effects primarily upon macro-invertebrates and potential spillover of parasites to other decapods. Research priorities are determining abundance, distribution and spread of crayfishes and assessing ecological impact to inform management decisions.
- RESEARCH: Weyl, O