A total of €20,000 is being invested in traps to capture and study an invasive crayfish species that has infiltrated several valleys around Malta.
The crayfish is a species originating from Florida and is believed to have been introduced to Malta’s valleys by humans, causing destruction to fauna and indigenous species, including the iconic qabru.
In an attempt to protect Malta’s ecosystem, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli and Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia have launched a new project to capture and study the species and restore Malta’s countryside.
“In order to do this, we need to remove this invasive species. This is done to protect the ecosystem and so that our children can continue to enjoy the flora and fauna of our country,” Farrugia said.
Parks and Malta, together with the University of Malta and the Authority for Environment and Resources will be investing a total of €20,000 to capture and study crayfish, which will subsequently be used as feedstock for reptiles.
The species has infamously popped up around Malta’s valleys over the past few years with sightings in Wied il-Baħrija, Wied Għajn Żejtuna and Wied l-Isperanza fil-Mosta. They have no natural enemies and eat the eggs of freshwater species – creating a balance in Malta’s natural ecosystem.
“More research is needed to better understand this species, its ecological impact and how to better manage its population to mitigate its impact on our native species,” said Marine Biologist Alan Deidun.
Traps will be set around the valleys under the guidance of scientific advisor Arnold Sciberras and have been set up to catch crayfish and not native species.