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Some people call them crawdads, others might know them as crayfish, but whatever you call them, crawfish have become a problem in Arizona’s freshwater streams and lakes.Crawfish, a common sight in Oak Creek, will investigate swimmers’ feet to see if they are food. Crawfish were introduced by fishermen as food for sport fish. Some were transported here and now have taken over the creek floor.

Visitors to Oak Creek might be surprised to learn that the small crustaceans that populate the waters aren’t native to Arizona, and in fact Arizona is the only place in the contiguous United States without any native species of crawfish.

Crawfish — a staple of New Orleans cuisine — were first introduced to Arizona during the mid-to-late 20th century, added to several bodies of water to act as a food source for sport fish, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

To make matters worse, continued use of crawfish as live bait by fisherman has contributed to a growing population, as some of the lobster-like critters escape to live another day.

For the full story, see the Friday, June 20, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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