In April 2023, new regulations were put into place cracking down on concerning species of crawfish coming into Colorado from other states. Louisiana red swamp and white river crawfish were prohibited from transporting, selling, or possessing within Colorado. These two species were banned here due to threats of spreading diseases and becoming invasive if released into local waterways.

Because of this, live crawfish boils couldn't really happen last year in Colorado. Crawfish season typically spans from March to early June. For many Cajun and/or seafood restaurants, crawfish boils have become annual traditions and are a lucrative way to bring in customers. Unfortunately, establishments in Colorado missed out on this last spring. Several restaurant owners and suppliers were also fined for continuing to serve the crustaceous cuisine in their kitchen.

Logan Ellzey/Unsplash
Logan Ellzey/Unsplash

However, in November 2023, the Parks and Wildlife Commission approved regulation changes to allow for the importation, transportation, and possession of live red swamp crawfish in Colorado if they are being used for human consumption.

The change went into effect on January 1, 2024. The main conditions of the reversal are that no person may possess an individual of the species alive for more than 72 hours, and any person who possesses the species alive must have a copy of an importation license that authorizes the importation of the crayfish in the person’s possession; and a receipt or delivery confirmation reflecting the date the person took possession of the crayfish.

The release and use of red swamp crawfish as bait remains illegal in the Centennial State. Rusty crayfish are already a top invasive concern in Colorado. Live transport of this species is also prohibited.

Keep an eye out for local crawfish boils in your area, like the one at Loveland Aleworks on Saturday, April 6.

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