Northeastern US crayfish originally stocked in English streams have worked their north into Scottish trout streams. And they have grown.
"What we did initially was just hand-catch them," Mitchell says, "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them."
There was some pinching involved. "I'll not repeat what the language was like," Mitchell says. "But they were big animals. I mean, some of these things were about 10, 12 inches long."
At that size, they don't even look like crayfish; they look like lobsters. Animals that big, Mitchell says, are more than a decade old; he guesses they've been in the river for 12 years.They rarely got larger than an inch or two in the streams around my home. Mostly because so many other animals found them tasty.
At the river, Miller pulls up a trap from the water to demonstrate. The plastic cage is alive with crawling, clacking crayfish — about a dozen of them, dark reddish-brown with giant claws, climbing all over each other inside the trap.
Crayfish like these can be a delicacy, but Scotland has decided that encouraging people to eat them would just create a market and make people spread them more widely.
As a result, anyone who pulls crayfish out of a Scottish river is legally required to kill them. The quickest way, Ian says, is to stomp them beneath a boot.This is just silly. Eat them!