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Standley White

New commercial fishery at Lake Tahoe

By August 11, 2012

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It's been decades since commercial fishing was banned at Lake Tahoe, but that is ending with the harvesting of crayfish from the cold blue waters. Fred Jackson of the Tahoe Lobster Company is bringing crawdads to market by way of his harvesting operation in the Crystal Bay area of the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

Beautiful blue waters of Lake Tahoe Beautiful blue waters of Lake Tahoe.
Photo © Stan White

Crayfish are a non-native species introduced in the late 1800s and they have multiplied into the hundreds of millions. Like most species that have gained a foothold where they didn't previously exist, the tiny lobsters are causing problems for native species. According to Sudeep Chandra, a freshwater scientist at UNR, they are linked to big declines in Tahoe's native invertebrates and to the lake's diminishing clarity over the years. It is hoped that Tahoe Lobster Company's harvest will at least help clear things up a bit in areas where they plan to take the critters out of the lake.

Of course, the commercial aspect of the operation is the sale of crawdads to restaurants and chefs eager to add them to their menus. Sierra Gold Seafood of Sparks will be distributing live crayfish. Executive Chef David Holman at Charlie Palmer's Steak and Briscola at the Grand Sierra Resort is ready to add crayfish dishes to the menu. So is Michael Norton at John Ascuaga's Nugget. "They are unique. It's an alpine lake and they are clean. The meat that comes out of them is going to be completely different," said Norton. These crawdads are a local product, which is a good thing as well.

Source: Reno Gazette-Journal.

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