Two hundred Murray crayfish re-homed in western waterways

1 Jan 2021

Murray Crayfish

Population numbers of the threatened Murray Crayfish have been bolstered after 200 of the species were successfully relocated to ensure their survival, Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall announced today.

Mr Marshall said the crayfish had been moved to a new site downstream in the Murray River.

“Murray Crayfish were once widespread throughout the Murray and Murrumbidgee catchments, however their numbers have declined and they are now listed as ‘vulnerable’ in NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

“It is critical that we ensure the survival of this species as they are the world’s second-largest freshwater crayfish and are unique to the Murray-Darling Basin, so relocation programs like this will help them thrive.

“Murray Crayfish have very low dispersal abilities and occupy small home-ranges, which means they struggle to recolonise areas where their population has declined.

“These crayfish – including adult females with eggs – were moved from an area where they are already abundant to a site downstream which suffered a significant decline in local population due to blackwater events.”

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) runs the translocations with Aquasave – Nature Glenelg Trust, with funding from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.

Mr Marshall said more than 800 Murray Crayfish had now been successfully translocated over four years and that number would continue to grow, with future operations planned to ensure the long-term sustainability of the species.

“The NSW Government is committed to seeing Murray Crayfish thrive, so it is heartening to see this program run so successfully,” Mr Marshall said.

“But to secure their population numbers we also need to have sustainable fishing regulations in place, including size and bag limits and ensure that crayfish are not taken from waters other than during the open season from June to August.”

Further information on Murray Crayfish and the fishing regulations.

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.

Media contact: Connor McGoverne | 0408 185 304