Murray Crayfish Part 2: First (official) reintroductions in almost a century!

Fish sMC released to river 2017tocking for fishery purposes is routinely undertaken, but conservation translocations remain relatively uncommon in the aquatic world (in terrestrial ecosystems however they are more widespread). On a sunny day in late July 2017, a small but important step toward the recovery of Murray crayfish was undertaken involving the release of 200 Murray crayfish into a section of the Murray River (near Echuca) where they were once abundant, but had not been detected since the 2010‒11 extreme blackwater event.

The translocations have been long in the planning and informed by knowledge we have gained over recent years (including genetics, status of source populations, assessing suitably of target areas, modelling of numbers required). They involved the input of many people, including fisheries and conservation managers, fisheries compliance officers, recreational fishers and researchers. The translocations will continue in coming years as will monitoring to assess population status over time (with the ultimate hope that a viable, self-sustaining population can be re-established).

The translocations will feature in an upcoming ABC Radio National Off Track episode.

Nick Whiterod