||The History of the International
Association of Astacology *
The idea for the
first European symposium on crayfish was that of Sture Abrahamsson of Sweden
in the early 1970s, who also suggested forming an association fro
astacologists and having a newsletter, although the first was not published
The first symposium in Hinterthal, Austria, in 1972 in fact became an
international one as a number of American astacologists also attended.
James Avault Jr. of the USA suggested a second meeting in Louisiana, and the
International Association of Astacology took off from there. Ten of
our current members have been made Charter Members of the IAA as they were
at Hinterthal when the International Association of Astacology was formed
and still retain an interest in the Association's affairs.
Why "Astacology"? Per Brinck (Crayfish News
Vol. 10(2), 1988) explained that the term "Astacology" was decided on for
the Association's name due to the fact that it gave a good indication of
what the Association was about, being derived from the name of an important
freshwater crayfish (Astacus). Originally used by medieval
authors for various decapod crustaceans, Astacus was adopted for the
European freshwater species as Cancer astacus by Linnaeus in 1758,
with Fabricius changing the generic name to Astacus in 1775. A
very specific name was avoided as it might have changed through time, e.g.,
be synonymised. It aslo allowed for the fact that in the future the
Association may be expanded to include other decapods.
The International Association of Astacology is now a
thriving organization comprising members from more than 40 countries with an
interest in freshwater crayfish. Members come from all walks of life,
including the crayfish farming industry, academia, and government
organizations. The main aims of the IAA are to encourage the
scientific study of crayfish for the benefit of mankind, to provide for the
dissemination of research findings relating to crayfish, and to develop an
international forum for free discussion of problems relevant to crayfish.
These aims have not changed in more that 30 years.
Since its formation in 1972 the IAA has gradually
grown in size and complexity. It is fronted by a permanent
Secretariat, but has elected officers (President, President-elect and
Secretary/Treasurer) who run the organization on a two to three year cycle
between symposia. The symposia provide a valuable forum for the
exchange of information, usually attracting more that 100 delegates,
including many students. The organizers try to secure funds to pay
some of the expenses of astacologists from Eastern Europe and other
geographical areas where members find it difficult to obtain funding for
overseas visits. Local, regional, and national meetings are also
encouraged by the IAA, which can offer limited funding.
A newsletter, Crayfish News, is sent quarterly to
all members and includes a wealth of up-to-date information. Members
are encouraged to contribute articles on their research, observations they
have made, and anything of interest to other astacologists. The
newsletter is a particularly useful source of references -- so, if you
publish something then send details to the editor -- including titles and
summaries of Masters and Doctoral theses.
membership Directory is published biennially and sent to all members.
This is a valuable source of information as it allows members to find out
who else in their geographical area is interested in crayfish and who is an
expert in a particular field.
A Home Page has
been set up and contains valuable information including further details of
the IAA, its bylaws, and bibliography and index to papers in Freshwater
Crayfish, and links to other useful sources of crustacean information
and contacts [http://crayfish.byu.edu/IAA/].
symposia have been held in 11 different countries so far. The officers
of the IAA welcome suggestions for future venues and from members willing to
organize symposia. Seed money for such ventures is provided by the IAA
although it is hoped that this will be returned after the final accounting
is done! Funds are provided by the Sture Abrahamsson Memorial
Foundation to help with the expenses of an invited speaker to give the
Abrahamsson Memorial Lecture.
The Association supports
the view that there is a need for the conservation of indigenous species and
for their restoration where they have been eliminated. If crayfish are
to be introduced outside their natural range then governments should be
responsible for undertaking environmental impact assessments to ensure that
these crayfish will not harm the native biota, including other species of
crayfish, by means of predation and competition, transmitted diseases and
The dangers of introducing crayfish
outside their natural range have been highlighted in a Resolution passed at
the Lausanne symposium in 1987 and published in Freshwater Crayfish 7
(1988). The problem in Europe has been highlighted in Gherardi &
The IAA cannot survive without its members and the
contributions they make to its symposia and newsletters. The
membership fee is relatively low and covers a two-year period. Reduced
rates are available for students and may even be waived for those having
limited financial support. A higher rate is charged for corporate
membership. Funds are needed for running the Association and for
sponsoring its symposia and other meetings.
number of members varies from period to period and was at its highest in the
mid-1990s. In 2003 the IAA granted affiliate membership to the
German-speaking crayfish group "Forum Flussekrebse". This development
was a major step forward for IAA, swelling membership to the 400+ levels
achieved in the mid-1990s. The majority of members come from Europe
and North America, although most geographical areas are covered.
Publications by IAA members
As well as publishing in "Freshwater Crayfish" and many
other journals, members have also produced a number of books and reports
that are very useful sources of information on crayfish.
Honorary Members of the IAA
- 1976 Horton H. Hobbs Jr. (USA)
Ruben Rausing (Sweden)
- 1978 Reinhard Spitzy (Austria)
- 1987 James Avault Jr. (USA)
Per Brinck (Sweden)
- 1990 Józef Kossakowski (Poland)
Pierre Laurent (France)
Ossi Lindqvist (Finland)
- 1992 Jakob Cukerzis (Lithuania)
Walter Momot (Canada)
- 1996 David Holdich (England)
Jay Huner (USA)
Stellan Karlsson (Sweeden)
- 1998 James Payne (USA)
Jostein Skurdal (Norway)
Kenneth Söderhäll (Sweden)
- 2000 Paula Henttonen (Finland)
Max Keller (Germany)
- 2004 Glen Whisson (Australia)
- 2008 James Fetzner Jr. (USA)
- 2010 William Daniels (USA)
Catherine Souty-Grossett (France)
Alastair Richardson (Australia)
Francesca Gherardi (Italy) -- Distinguished Astacologist
IAA Presidents - past and present
Jr. (USA) 1974-1976
Lindqvist (Finland) 1978-1981
Karlsson (Sweden) 1981-1984
Laurent (France) 1984-1987
Holdich (England) 1990-1992
Skurdal (Norway) 1994-1996
Henttonen (Finland) 1996-1998
Keith Crandall (USA) 2002-2004
Francesca Gherardi(Italy) 2004-2006
Catherine Souty-Grossett (France) 2006-2008
James Furse (Australia) 2008-2010
James Fetzner Jr. (USA) 2010-2012
Abrahamsson Memorial Lectures
- Per Brinck (Sweden): An ecologist's approach to dealing
with the loss of Astacus astacus. Davis, California, USA, 1981.
- Horton Hobbs Jr. (USA): Highlights of half a century of
crayfishing. Lund, Sweden, 1984.
- David Holdich (England): The dangers of introducing alien
animals with particular reference to crayfish. Lausanne, Switzerland,
- Charles Goldman (USA): Global impact and landscape change on
crayfish ecology and introductions. Baton Rouge, USA, 1990.
- James Avault Jr. (USA): A review of world crustacean
aquaculture with special reference to crayfish. Reading, England,
- Kai Westman (Finland): Introduction of alien crayfish in the
development of crayfish fisheries; experience with signal crayfish (Pacifastacus
leniusculus (Dana)) in Finland and the impact on the native noble
crayfish (Astacus astacus (L.)). Adelaide, Australia, 1994.
- James Payne (USA): Adaptive success within the cambarid life cycle.
Thunder Bay, Canada, 1996.
- Kenneth Söderhäll
(Sweden): Crayfish plague - a lesson to learn from. Augsburg,
- Keith Crandall (USA): Crayfish as model organisms.
Perth, Australia, 2000.
- Catherine Souty-Grosset (presenter), Frédéric
Grandjean and Nicolas Gouin: Conservation and management of native crayfish
populations. Queretaro, Mexico, 2002.
* Excerpts taken from Holdich, D. &
Whisson, G. 2004. ">The first 30 years: A history of the
International Association of Astacology.