In an annual ritual of Finnish summer, crayfish harvesting season began at noon on Friday. Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) expects a good crayfish harvest this year. It says there are plenty of crustaceans of the right size left over from last year.
Due to the cool start to summer, the main catch will probably have to wait until about two weeks later than usual. Crayfish collecting season lasts until the end of October.
There are now stricter laws on the practice as the native population of these crustaceans has been decimated by a plague that arrived from North America.
Some streams have been stocked with North American signal crayfish to make up for the diminishing numbers of native European crayfish.
As of this year, only registered crayfishers who pay a 30-euro license fee are allowed to engage in wholesale trading of the lobster-like creatures. However those selling less than 300 directly to consumers do not need a permit. There are only about 160 registered professional crayfish fishers.
Native European crayfish in particular are a great delicacy, commanding high prices at restaurants and markets. As in the other Nordic countries, schnapps-driven crayfish parties are popular in late summer, especially among the Swedish-speaking minority.