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Author Topic: Collaborative approach key to recovering Murray crayfish populations  (Read 1555 times)

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Collaborative approach key to recovering Murray crayfish populations
NSW DPI - 07 Jul 2014

Photo of a researcher measuring a crayfish

Researchers are once again braving cold, foggy mornings to undertake broad-scale Murray crayfish surveys in the Murray River and Edward-Wakool region.
A collaborative project between the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Nature Glenelg Trust, Murray Local Land Services (LLS) and the Edward Wakool Anglers Association (EWAA) is assessing Murray crayfish populations.

DPI Fisheries Research Officer, Martin Asmus, said the biology of the Murray crayfish continues to make them extremely susceptible to a range of long-term threats.

“Murray crayfish are very slow growing, they mature at a late age, up to nine years old, they don't move large distances – and there is still much about the ecology of Murray crayfish we don't fully understand,” Mr Asmus said.

“This iconic species has suffered a decline in numbers across much of its historical distribution and efforts are now being ramped up to manage the recovery of the species in affected regions.

“We were fortunate enough to have standardised catch data prior to the 2011 blackwater event along the Murray River with follow-up surveys in 2012 confirming the catastrophic effect downstream of Barmah-Millewa Forest and within the Edward Wakool system.

“It is important we continue to monitor the recovery of the Murray crayfish within both affected and non-affected reaches in order to best manage the fishery.

“The recent ministerial order allowing the continuation of recreational fishing under conservative bag and size limit and area restrictions introduced for the last fishing season was a positive indication that the social and economic importance of the fishery is recognised.”

President of the Edward Wakool Anglers Association, Ian Fisher, acknowledged the efforts of the project partners and the progress that has been made towards involving all relevant stakeholders.

“EWAA is working closely with several agencies to provide support for the research that is currently being undertaken and will be involved in the future to provide advice and feedback for a number of other programs on a local level,” Mr Fisher said.

Surveys will be undertaken at established sites along the Murray River from Robinvale to Albury and within the Edward-Wakool region at sites chosen in collaboration with Murray LLS and EWAA members.

The project, which is being run using funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust and Murray LLS, will provide a sound basis for the future management of this iconic freshwater crayfish.

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