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Project Protecting Oysters from Green Crabs

AUSTRALIA - An on-going marine project is helping to save oyster beds on the Sapphire Coast from the threat of the European Green crab.

The Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre, under the guidance of Associate Professor Ron West from the University of Wollongong and with the help of a team of volunteers and Marine Education Officer Luke Brown, is helping to control and reduce numbers of the introduced pest species Carcinus Maenus (European Green crab) in Twofold Bay.

Beginning in February 2007 at Fisheries Beach, south of Eden, the work involves the monthly setting of traps to monitor the numbers and gender of these pests.

The project was made possible by a Grant through the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.

SCMDC has a DPI Fisheries Collection Permit for this work and will be collecting data for its new Resource Centre database of marine species occurring on our Sapphire Coast.

To date, the programme has been an outstanding success, with a large number of dedicated volunteers joining Luke each month to count, establish the gender and size the animals before they are humanely destroyed.

These pests are now known to have spread as far north as Bermagui and DPI Fisheries are considering providing assistance to expand the program as it recognizes its potential negative effect on the local oyster industry.