June 1 start for Murray Crayfish season

29 May 2017

South western NSW fishers are excitedly gearing up for the traditional June 1 opening of the Murray Crayfish season.

The popular freshwater crustacean is mainly found in the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers and their tributaries.

Cameron Westaway, NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (NSW DPI) Senior Fisheries Manager, said it’s a highly exciting time for keen freshwater fishers.

“Murray Crayfish may only be taken during the months of June, July and August in the Murray River between Hume Weir and the Tocumwal road bridge including Lake Mulwala and in the Murrumbidgee River between the Gundagai Road bridge and Berembed Weir excluding Old Man Creek,” Mr Westaway said.

“Environmental factors including habitat degradation and modification have led to widespread declines in populations of the Murray Crayfish, and a number of rules are in place to protect the species and assist with its recovery."

Mr Westaway said the minimum size limit for Murray Crayfish, measured from the rear of the eye socket to the centre rear of the carapace is 10cm and the maximum size limit is 12cm.

The daily bag limit for Murray Crayfish is 2 and the possession limit is 4.

“It’s a highly anticipated time when the Murray Crayfish season opens for the winter months, and we want to ensure fishers can still enjoy the season while abiding by the rules to make  sure we can sustain this species for future generations,” Mr Westaway said.

Up to five hoop or lift nets per person may be used to take Murray Crayfish where permitted. The letters 'HN' and user’s name, year of birth and postcode must be written on each net’s float.  Thetaking of berried females or removing heads, tails or claws in, on, or adjacent to waters is prohibited as is the taking of Murray Crayfish using any form of trap.

DPI Director of Fisheries Compliance, Patrick Tully, said Murray Crayfish must not be taken from any waters other than during the open season in the waters prescribed.

“Fisheries officers will be patrolling our waterways to ensure the rules are being followed,” Mr Tully said.

“Fishers may use hoop or lift nets where they can be legally used to take yabbies in other waters, however, if any Murray Crayfish are accidentally caught they must be immediately returned to the water unharmed.

“Fishers can also obtain a free Murray Crayfish measuring device and the NSW Freshwater Fishing Guide from DPI Fisheries offices and most bait and tackle stores.”

Detailed information on the fishing rules and Murray Crayfish can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries.

Check out the FishSmart app providing recreational fishers 24/7 smartphone access to essential information they need to know to fish in NSW. You can find it in the App Store or on Google Play.

Any suspected illegal fishing activity can be reported through the FishSmart app or to the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536.

Media contact: Sarah Wright (02) 6391 3686 or 0427075167