06 Mar Continued work on the mighty Murray crayfish
The Murray crayfish is the world’s second largest freshwater crayfish – a species that naturally occurs across the southern Murray-Darling Basin. The species is closely related to the Glenelg Spiny Crayfish and faces similar threats to long-term viability. Both species have undergone considerable declines in distribution and abundance over the past 50 years due to river regulation, habitat degradation and overfishing. Most recently, Murray crayfish was severely impacted by a hypoxic blackwater event (dissolved oxygen below 2mg/L) that occured following widespread flooding across the southern Murray-Darling Basin. Research showed a 81% reduction in abundance in areas affected by the blackwater event and prompted substantial changes to the regulations of the recreational fishery (including complete closure in affected areas).
A new collaborative project – funded through by NSW Recreational Fishing Freshwater Trust with additional funding from the Victorian DEPI – has recently commenced, which will provide the information necessary to guide management of the recovery of this iconic species. See the project page here for more details and stay tuned for regular updates.