The action plan, approved by resolution on Thursday at a Council of Ministers meeting, "covers all water bodies in mainland Portugal where the species is present" and applies annually from January 1st to December 31st, " without closed periods", according to topics sent to Lusa by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action.

The document, which will come into force the day after its publication in the Diário da República, stipulates the capture of the species as a "method of control and containment" of its population, as well as the identification of "sensitive areas for some species of plants or animals autochthonous species where it will be necessary to reduce the abundance of this species of crustacean.

According to the plan, which aims to "comply with Community and national legislation in this matter", the population of the Red-Luisian crayfish must be kept "at control levels that minimize the damage caused by it, but still allow its positive effects as an important prey in the diet of native fauna".

As it is not possible to eradicate the red crayfish, the Government decided to proceed with a control plan, which extends to other invasive alien species of crustaceans, "present in continental water bodies", such as the crayfish and the Chinese hairy crab.

Native to northeastern Mexico and the central and southern United States, the Red Crayfish are an invasive species in European territory, having been introduced as fishing bait, for aquaculture or consumption, according to information published on the website. Ciência Viva - National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture.

In Portugal, the species appeared in 1979, from Spain, and is spread over at least 11 hydrographic basins: rivers Douro, Leça, Vouga, Mondego, Lis, Tagus, Sado and Mira and rivers of the West, Algarve and Guadiana .

The Red-Luis Crawfish, which can reach 15 centimeters in length, eat plants, detritus, molluscs, insects, worms, larvae and tadpoles and serve as food for otters and white storks. It is "a great digger", which can cause "damage to river beds, earth dikes and dams, and crops, particularly rice".

Originating in East Asia, the Chinese hairy crab, "very appreciated gastronomically", will have arrived in Portugal in the ballast of a ship, distributed over the Tagus and Minho hydrographic basins, describes Ciência Viva.

The crayfish are mentioned by the National Museum of Natural History and Science as the species of crayfish, along with the red-legged crayfish, which contributed in part to the disappearance of the native white-footed crayfish. from Portugal.