A research program, and an enforcement and compliance regime support the sustainable management of New Zealand crayfish.
The catch is strictly limited and fines are imposed on offenders who take more than their limit.
I recall my father catching crayfish when I was a child. They were plentiful along the Marlborough coast, where we lived at the time. My sister and I established a reputation in the family for being able to extract every scrap of the delicate meat from the claws. I also remember an occasion when Dad went cray fishing in Akaroa when we were kids. He brought back a huge one, still alive but hidden inside his gumboot. He tipped it out onto the floor and it make a fearsome noise as it scuttled around on the hard kitchen floor. The poor thing was probably terrified, justifiably, as it ended up in a pot.
Our neighbour rang the doorbell the other night and handed us a damp package, wrapped in newspaper. He'd just returned from a fishing trip and I guessed immediately what was in the package. Hard, cold and spiky, it was easy to guess what it was. We like them plain, simply cooked, without the melted butter some people like. We've also had them BBQ'd, but if the heat is not carefully controlled the delicate flesh can quickly become tough and dry. He suggested we cook it for 7-8 minutes, in boiling salted water. It was perfect. Bigger ones may need longer.
When I have the freshest of ingredients I like to cook them as simply as possible, leaving them to be the hero of the dish.
What a nice neighbour. Thank you for this delicious treat.