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Murray Cray Season Opens May 1

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The annual four-month Murray crayfish open season begins on Monday May 1 and fishers should ensure they know the rules for catching this prized native species.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director Paul O’Connor of Compliance Operations said regular patrols would be conducted to check that fishers were following the rules, which aim to ensure Murray crayfish are harvested sustainably.

“The species is found mainly in the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Edward Rivers and needs to be protected from over-fishing because of its slow growth rate,” Mr O’Connor said.

He said fishers should remember that they need a NSW Fishing Licence to fish in the Murray and all other NSW waters.

“Our officers in southern NSW will again be out in force during the Murray crayfish season to ensure the rules are being followed,” Mr O’Connor said.

“People are generally taking note of the rules and we are pleased with their cooperative approach and consideration for a highly valued native species.

“Last year, a NSW DPI Murray crayfish operation saw 610 fishers checked in south west NSW with 62 fishers detected for not complying with the legislation.”

Some key rules include:

* A daily bag limit of five applies to Murray crayfish with a total of 10 in possession. They must have a carapace (head) length of at least nine centimetres long, but only one crayfish greater than 12 centimetres may be kept.

* Murray crayfish can only be taken during the months of May, June, July and August.

* A ban applies to taking Murray crayfish in trout waters.

* Any female crayfish taken that are carrying eggs must be returned to the water immediately. Removing claws, head or tail in, on or adjacent to water, is also banned.

* Five hoop nets per person are permitted with the user’s name and address on the float except in waters closed to the use of hoop nets.

Mr O’Connor also advised anglers that Blowering Dam near Tumut would be open to fishing for Murray crayfish this season after several years of low water levels.

“The dam level is much higher this year and Blowering Dam will be open to Murray cray fishing but it will be closely monitored by fisheries officers,” he said.

Murray crayfish measuring devices and brochures, which also provide details of areas closed to Murray cray fishing, are available free from NSW DPI Fisheries offices.

MEDIA CONTACT: SARAH CHESTER on (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669.

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