Murray crayfish rules amended for 2013

ANGLERS are being advised of significant changes to fishing rules for Murray crayfish this season.

Executive Director Fisheries NSW, Dr Geoff Allan, said that environmental factors such as habitat degradation and modification and blackwater events after flooding have taken a toll on the iconic native species.

“The NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee has proposed to list Murray crayfish as a vulnerable species in NSW following widespread declines in abundance, particularly in the lower reaches of the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers,” Dr Allan said.

“Although recreational fishing does not appear to be a primary cause of decline, it is important that we manage recreational fishing pressure to assist species recovery on a proactive basis.

“A combination of new measures including additional closed areas, shortening the season by one month and changes to bag and size limits are being introduced this year to protect this important species.”

The new regulatory arrangements include:· Prohibiting the take of Murray crayfish in all NSW waters except in the Murrumbidgee River between the Hume Highway road bridge at Gundagai and Berembed Weir, near Ganmain, and in the Murray River between 130 metres downstream of the Hume Weir, near Albury and the Newell Highway road bridge at Tocumwal.

· Changing the opening of the fishing season from 1 May to 1 June to protect pre-spawning females.

· Increasing the minimum size limit (from the rear of the eye socket to the centre rear of the carapace) from Murray crayfish from 9 cm to 10 cm and introducing a maximum size limit of 12 cm, to ensure all females reach sexual maturity and that very large crayfish can continue within the population.

· Reducing the daily bag limit for Murray crayfish from 5 to 2 and the possession limit from 10 to 4.

Dr Allan said the new Murray crayfish fishing rules are effective immediately meaning it will be an offence to take Murray crayfish in the month of May.

“All other existing rules will continue including a prohibition on taking berried females or removing heads, tails or claws in, on, or adjacent to, waters,” Dr Allan said.

“I acknowledge that these new rules may inconvenience fishers, particularly those in south western NSW and Victoria who had planned to fish for Murray crayfish in the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers this May.

“Fishers must ensure they get to know the new rules before heading out fishing this Murray crayfish season as fisheries officers will be out in force to ensure the new regulatory arrangements are being followed.”

Up to five hoop nets per person may be used to take Murray crayfish where permitted with the letters “HN” and user’s name and address on the float.

Where it is legal to use hoop nets, they may continue to be used to take yabbies in waters closed to the taking of Murray crayfish. However, if any Murray crayfish are accidentally caught they must be immediately returned to the water unharmed.

For more information on Murray crayfish visit

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