Yabby fishers seeing red

REC fishers in NSW are being warned not to consume yabbies with visible shell damage, after a number of yabbies in the Lake Cowal area near West Wyalong were found to be affected with irregular markings,

Matthew McLellan, Acting Senior Inland Fisheries Manager Department of Primary Industries, said numerous reports had been made about unusual shell markings on some of the catches coming from Lake Cowal last week.

“The unusual markings feature on the body of the yabby, and are red in colour,” McLellan said.

“In some instances, larger affected areas on the shell have caused the shell to go very soft in the affected area. Sampling is underway and analysis of the affected yabbies will be undertaken at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute to try to determine the nature of the shell damage, and rule out a fungal disease, shell rot or other pathogens.

“The EPA is also undertaking water and sediment sample testing. In the interim, we advise all commercial and recreational fishers to use caution when fishing in Lake Cowal and return any affected yabbies back into the water.”

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Commercial fishers in the area have been contacted and advised that affected yabbies should not be marketed or sold.

At this stage, it’s believed about 25 per cent of yabbies from the Lake Cowal area seem to be affected.

“Fishers are asked to report any unusual looking yabbies to the Department, as we continue to investigate the cause of this event,” McLellan said.

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