The farming of freshwater crayfish (astaciculture) is mainly carried out in the southern states of the USA, and in Australia and Europe. Production levels vary with climate but are in the region of 40 000 to 60 000 tonnes per annum. In addition, at least an equivalent amounts is harvested from the wild, particularly in North America, China, Australia, Kenya, Turkey and Europe. Crayfish farming is usually either of an extensive (ranching) or semi-intensive nature, intensive methods being infrequent, except for the rearing of juveniles for stocking (or restocking of natural waters depleted of crayfish). As crayfish do not have larvae and are polytrophic, they are relatively easy to rear, although fecundity is much lower when compared with other cultured crustaceans. At least 85% of world production is based on the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, mainly from Louisiana and other southern USA states, but also from China, Kenya and Spain, where it has been introduced. In Australia, three species are of aquacultural importance, the yabbie, Cherax destructor; the marron, C. tenuimanus; and the red claw, C. quadricarinatus. Some very large production units have been built but none have lived up to their promise. The red claw is thought to have considerable aquacultural potential, but, being a tropical species, needs warm water for good growth. In Europe, the only endemic species cultured to any extent is the noble crayfish, Astacus astacus, mainly as juveniles for restocking. It fetches a higher price than other crayfish. The North American signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus, has been introduced to most European countries, but farmed production is relatively low. About 98% of crayfish consumed in Europe come from extensive systems or the wild harvest. European crayfish markets were upset by the collapse of the Turkish crayfishery (based on Astacus leptoductylus) due to overfishing and disease in the mid-1980s. The environmental impact of crayfish farming is most noticeable in Europe. Crayfish plague, introduced from North America last century, has devastated populations of the native species in many countries. Its spread has been exasperated by the translocation of foreign crayfish (and probably by fish) for aquacultural purposes. In addition, introduced crayfish frequently escape into the wild and form large populations, often in direct competition with native species. Burrowing and prolific species, such as P. clarkii, can also do considerable environmental damage.