Make sure that the trap you buy is legal for crayfish trapping. Find out more..
Crayfish Trap Guidelines
As you need our written consent to use a crayfish trap, it’s sensible to get permission from us before you buy. Make sure that the trap you buy is legal for crayfish trapping.
There are strict rules about the size and design. This is to protect other wildlife such as otters.
- The entrance to the trap must be no more than 9.5 cm across
- If the entrance is more than 9.5 cm across, there must be an otter guard or restriction on the funnel leading into the trap
- The holes in the mesh must not be more than 3 cm across
- The trap itself must not be more than 60 cm long or 35 cm wide
If you want to use a trap that does not comply with these rules, you will need written permission from us. Phone our National Customer Call Centre on 0370 8506506 and ask to speak to your local Fisheries Officer. We refuse many applications because of the risks to otters and water voles. These are protected species. Don’t break the law.
Please note: The owners of fish farms, and their employees, do not need our written consent to use crayfish traps on their fish farms. However all traps have to comply with these rules so please contact your local fisheries officer before you start trapping.
Make an Otter Guard
Here are three ways to make an otter guard to ensure the entrance to your trap is legal:
- One made from tightly stretched flexible netting. When wet, the mesh size must not be more than 7.5 cm from knot to knot. Each hole must not be more than 30 cm around the edge.
- A rigid square grille with bars that are no more than 8.5 cm apart.
- A rigid ring guard fitted to the funnel leading into the entrance of the trap. The distance across the inside must not be more than 9.5 cm.
If there are water voles nearby, we may refuse your application to trap crayfish. This is because trapping can put these protected animals in danger.
You are breaking the law if you:
- use illegal traps
- recklessly allow water voles to drown in crayfish traps
- place traps in the entrances to water vole tunnels
Sites with lots of water voles are unlikely to have many crayfish – they prefer different habitats. But if there are water voles where you want to trap, we may ask you to use baited drop nets. These are open traps that are safe for water voles, unlike the more traditional, funneled, closed traps.
- Do not put traps near water vole burrows
- You must not block a water vole burrow with a crayfish trap
- If it is safe to do so, position your traps away from the banks. (traps in the middle of a stream or watercourse are less likely to catch voles)
- If you do accidentally catch a water vole, stop trapping immediately and let your local Fisheries Officer know
- You can modify your trap by cutting escape holes into the roof. Holes that are 6–8 cm across will be sufficient
- General advice call the Fish Movements Team on 01480 483968
- Local advice, please phone our National Customer Call Centre on 0370 8506506 and ask to speak to your local Fisheries Officer