You’re now free to snap up all the imported red swamp crawfish you can eat in Colorado

· Jan. 4, 2024, 4:00 am
Boiled crayfish.Boiled crayfish.Creative Commons.
A traditional crawfish boil includes andouille sausage, onions, potatoes, and corn. Cauliflower, artichokes, whole garlic cloves, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, and any other vegetables that boil well also make nice additions.

Fans of crawfish boils, etouffees and even some po' boys can now rejoice. It is officially legal to bring the red swamp crawfish — aka crayfish or crawdads, depending who you ask — into Colorado.

The crustacean is widely considered the most tasty for such culinary delights but have long been banned since the species are not native to Colorado. However, Colorado Parks and Wildlife changed the rules in November after a public comment period.  

By law, wildlife that is not native to Colorado cannot be imported, transported or otherwise held in possession unless otherwise authorized. The state agency decided to consider the issue after it realized fans of Louisiana cuisine have long brought the species into Colorado for human consumption.

Under the new rules, anyone who holds the live crawdads needs a special license to import them as well as a receipt or delivery confirmation. A Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman said generally that means the business that imports the crayfish will provide a copy of the import permit to the individual purchasing them. (A good recipe is probably handy as well.)

Additionally, no one can keep them for longer than 72 hours. 

The rule change only applies to human consumption, and it remains illegal to release the crawfish into the wild.

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