Plan to Clean Up Lake Tahoe Is Bad News for Crayfish
Nevada allows commercial fishermen to go after them
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2012 5:36 PM CDT
A stock photo of Lake Tahoe.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – In a blend of environmentalism, commercialism, and even culinary delights, authorities hope to clean the water in Lake Tahoe via the fishing of its crayfish inhabitants. Some 280 million crayfish call the lake home, and the booming population contributes to the muddiness of the once translucent water, reports the New York Times. Last week, Nevada officials struck down a ban on commercial crayfish-catching in a bid to restore clarity to the lake on the Nevada-California border. (The commercial fishing is legal only on the Nevada side for now.)

In 1968, the lake's water was clear down to about 100 feet. After decades of over-development and the introduction of invasive species including certain Asian clams and aquatic weeds, the clarity of the water reaches down to only about 70 feet today. The crayfish, too, is an invasive species: It arrived about 100 years ago, though the population has exploded in the last decade or so. Reducing the numbers is expected to help both the lake and the region's food industry, which is typically lacking in fresh, local seafood.