It is Illegal to Take Crayfish out of Rouge National Urban Park
Parks Canada protects wildlife and plant species within Rouge National Urban Park. All of the animals and plants in the Rouge are protected and removing them is illegal. The collection of any plant or animal within the park is limited to those with special permits issued by the Park Superintendent or Province of Ontario.
In Ontario, it is prohibited to transport crayfish over land, no matter what the purpose or destination is, without a scientific permit issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, or by Parks Canada should the permit be for use in Rouge National Urban Park. Anglers possessing a valid Ontario fishing licence can use crayfish as bait in the same body of water in which they are caught. This is only permitted if they are used immediately after catching and not transported elsewhere first. They must be used in the same location of the waters from which they were taken.
These rules have been put in place to lower the risk of spreading Rusty Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus), a highly invasive species in Ontario. Rusty Crayfish are native to the Ohio River Basin in the United States and were first reported in Ontario in the 1960s. Compared to their native Ontario crayfish counterparts, Rusty Crayfish are large, aggressive, and rapidly reproduce allowing them to outcompete native crayfish for food and habitat and better defend themselves from predators due to their aggressive nature. The females can carry hundreds of fertilized eggs under their tails, even if one female carrying eggs is transported to another waterbody, she alone can carry enough eggs to establish an entire new population.
Parks Canada is committed to protecting the environment and continues to manage invasive species like the Rusty Crayfish in Rouge National Urban Park. Our staff is working to build awareness around Rusty Crayfish and ask for your support to limit the spread of this invasive species. Please abide by park regulations so that everyone can enjoy their favourite activities in the Rouge while ensuring the safety and protection of park wildlife.