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New Rules To Help Curb The Spread Of A Marine Pest


AUSTRALIA - The Department of Sustainability and Environment has lead responsibility for managing aquatic pests in Victorian waters, including European green shore crabs.

Fisheries Victoria plays a support role in the management of these pests and has recently introduced new rules designed to assist in curbing the spread of the crab.

These new rules are:

  • Recreational anglers must not use European green shore crabs as live bait or return live unused European green shore crabs to the water;
  • Recreational anglers can now take European green shore crabs in unlimited numbers in all areas other than the intertidal zone of Port Phillip Bay.

The species is thought to have been introduced to Port Phillip Bay in the 1850s and is now present in many locations such as the Gippsland Lakes. The crab has also been recorded in estuaries in NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.

It is highly adaptive, a fierce predator and out-competes native marine life.

Commercial fishers are allowed to catch the crab and supply it, dead or alive, to Victorian seafood or bait markets under Victorian fishing licensing arrangements. Fisheries Victoria recognises the action taken by some States to ban the importation of live European green shore crabs, to reduce the risk of it becoming established in other waterways.

The European green shore crab is a small crab with spines in between and on either side of its eyes. They can vary in colour, but are usually dark green with yellow makings.

To help Victorians correctly identify the pest crab, an information sheet has been developed. The information sheet also describes some of the common native crab species that people are likely to encounter. The existing regulation of a daily catch limit of 30 crabs, or 1 litre of crabs, still applies to all native crab species.