December 20, 2014
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (AP) - A crayfish crook is on the prowl at Lake Tahoe.
Nevada Department of Wildlife officials tell the Reno Gazette-Journal they're aware of the thefts, but have no suspects.
Tahoe Lobster Co. founder Fred Jackson acquired a permit and started harvesting crayfish for the first time this summer. Since then, 77 of his traps have disappeared - including 20 stolen in the past week from the waters off Tahoe's east shore.
Jackson estimates losses totaling $8,000.
The crayfish, also called crawdads, are not native to Tahoe, but an estimated 280 million of them now thrive in the lake's waters.
Jackson said demand for crayfish has been picking up with sales to hotel-casinos at Lake Tahoe and in Reno.
But he says the trap thieves are killing his business.