Linking biology to fishing regulations: Australia’s Murray Crayfish (Euastacus armatus)

Authors

  • Sylvia Zukowski,

  • Robyn Watts,

  • Allan Curtis


Sylvia Zukowski is an aquatic scientist with the School of Environmental Science at Charles Sturt University (PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia; Tel: 0438815489; Email: szukowski@csu.edu.au).Allan Curtis is a Professor of Integrated Environmental Management with the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University (PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia; Email: acurtis@csu.edu.au). Associate Professor Robyn Watts is an aquatic scientist with the School of Environmental Science and the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University (PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia; Email: rwatts@csu.edu). The project is part of a project linking biological and social parameters to fishing regulations for Murray Crayfish (Euastacus armatus).

Abstract

Summary  Murray Crayfish (Euastacus armatus) can be legally fished by recreational fishers in two states of Australia; however, there is limited published biological information on which recreational fishing regulations can be based. Murray Crayfish populations were surveyed in a 230-km river reach of the River Murray, New South Wales, Australia. Only 39% of the female Murray Crayfish were sexually matured at the minimum legal length (90-mm occipital carapace length) set by current fishing regulations. Females first came into berry 16 days after the commencement of the open fishing season. During handling of berried females, an average of 1.3 eggs dropped off when the tail was left closed and 3.9 when the tail was opened. Results of this study suggest that fishing regulations relating to minimum legal length and timing of the open fishing season may need to be re-evaluated.

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