Crayfish extinction risk: Open to public

THE NSW Department of Primary Industries is seeking submissions on a proposal by the Fisheries Scientific Committee to list Murray crayfish as a vulnerable species.

Department director of aquaculture, conservation and marine parks Bill Talbot said the committee had reviewed available information on Murray crayfish.

It found that the species is facing a high risk of extinction in NSW.

“Factors contributing to the decline of Murray crayfish include continued harvest by recreational fishers, habitat modification and loss, sedimentation, river regulation and the species’ intolerance of low dissolved oxygen concentrations caused by flooding,” Mr Talbot said.

“The committee is seeking written submissions from the public on any information that may assist their deliberations.”

That included information on the abundance, distribution and any historical information such as old catch records.

“I encourage any member of the public with relevant information to make a submission to the committee,” Mr Talbot said.

After the close of the consultation period, the committee will consider all submissions before making a final determination on whether to list the species as vulnerable under the Fisheries Management Act.

“If listed, it will become an offence to harm, buy, sell, possess or damage the habitat of Murray crayfish without a specific permit or licence,” Mr Talbot said.

The committee is an independent advisory body.

Its role is to determine the eligibility of nominated species through assessment against specified listing criteria.

Submissions must be made in writing by December 21 to the department.