Colorado may be a landlocked state, but that doesn't stop restaurants across the region from serving up all kinds of delicious seafood and shellfish - until now that is.

New regulations are cracking down on crawfish that are brought into Colorado, meaning they will no longer be appearing on menus. Crawfish season typically spans from March to early June, but don't expect to see those live boils taking place this year.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, as of April 2023, Louisiana red swamp and white river crawfish are now prohibited to transport, sell, or possess within the state. These two particular species have been banned in Colorado due to concerns of spreading diseases or becoming invasive if released into local waterways. This poses a major threat to native species, especially if used as bait by anglers.

Rusty crayfish are already a top invasive concern in Colorado. Live transport of this species is also prohibited.

While the new laws surrounding the crustacean are for the good of Colorado's ecosystem, local restaurant owners and seafood distributors are experiencing negative effects. Establishments known for offering fresh crawfish to customers are no longer able to participate in the annual boils, which have become large social events over the years. Seafood lovers around the state are also crushed to hear the news about crawdads, knowing they can't get their traditional fix.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are monitoring illegal crawfish transport and sales taking place, handing out hefty fines to those caught participating in the now-illegal activity. Several restaurant owners and suppliers have been given fines of $1,000 or more.

Because of all the controversy surrounding the new regulations for crawfish in Colorado, CPW's Fish Health Board is in the process of reviewing the laws to determine if any changes can be made. According to KRDO news, a decision would not be finalized until the fall - well after this year's mudbug season is over.

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