Has the import ban on non-native red swamp crayfish (Crustacea: Cambaridae) been effective in Brazil?

André Lincoln Barroso Magalhães, Renato Ferreira Andrade


In Brazil, the import as well as introduction, reintroduction, trade, culture and transport of live individuals of the non-native red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard, 1852) was determined illegal by the Brazilian Federal Ordinance No. 5 of 2008. Surveys of the availability of P. clarkii in five Brazilian regions were carried out to investigate whether the 2008 Brazilian imposed import ban for this species was effective. In order to address this issue, 81 aquarium stores were surveyed in years before (2007-2008) and after (2009- 2011) the ban had been imposed. The results revealed that the availability of P. clarkii in aquarium stores decreased from pre-ban surveys in 2007-2008 to post-ban surveys in 2009-2011 (58.0% to 18.5%; χ2=16.52, d.f.=1, P<0.05), but still persists within the country. These findings clearly demonstrate that Brazilian Federal Ordinance No. 5 of 2008 has not been effective and that the aquarium trade continues distributing red swamp crayfishes in spite of their import ban. This survey underscores the need to enhance the number of invertebrate experts in the Brazilian Customs Agency staff to monitor the aquarium trade, the inspection by IBAMA officials and environmental police aiming at confiscating P. clarkii, and the awareness of retailers and aquarium hobbyists, as well as electronic service providers (i.e. e-commerce).

Keywords: alien crayfish, prohibited species, aquarium trade.

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