Murray Crayfish get out and about in cold weather as NGT conducts annual monitoring

With the temperature dropping and the first frosts felt across south-eastern Australia, the Murray Crayfish (Euastacus armatus), second largest freshwater crayfish in the world, becomes more active. NGT has been involved in the conservation of this species for many years, including leading a genetic study (published in 2016), and a number of translocations in NSW at sites from which the species disappeared in 2010-11 as a result of blackwater events.

This June and July we are conducting surveys to assess populations of this iconic species across New South Wales, as part of ongoing annual monitoring of the species.

During the surveys, crayfish are captured using hoop nets (which were crafted by some of our wonderful volunteers last year), before being measured, weighed, sexed. Finally a genetic sample is taken and then they are carefully returned to the water at the point of capture. Populations of Murray Crayfish have declined in abundance and distribution over the past century, and this research provides critical information to feed into the management of this species.

Murray crayfish can weigh up to two kilograms. This 1.6 kg individual was one of the largest caught in recent surveys. Photo: Nick Whiterod.
Sylvia Zukowski