Keep an eye out for in­va­sive crabs

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Street Watch - By JON BAS­SETT

THE hunt is still on for the in­va­sive Asian pad­dle crab four years af­ter the first of the un­wanted pests were caught in the Swan River at Mos­man Park.

“Dur­ing sum­mer, we know lots of fish­ers get out on the Swan and Can­ning rivers to go crab­bing and we want them to keep re­port­ing any sight­ings of the Asian pad­dle crab,” Depart­ment of Fish­eries biose­cu­rity sec­tion se­nior man­age­ment of­fi­cer Mar­ion Mas­sam said.

Sus­pect crabs should be pho­tographed, the lo­ca­tion of the catch noted and re­ported to Fish­watch, with the specimen kept chilled.

Crab fish­ers caught four Asian pad­dle crabs in the river in 2012 and 2014, af­ter one was found near Mandurah in 2010.

The ma­jor­ity of sub­se­quent re­ports to Fish­Watch were of na­tive crab species.

Ms Mas­sam said that did not mean the for­eign crabs were not in WA wa­ters.

“Erad­i­cat­ing a large, well-estab­lished pop­u­la­tion of these pests would be very dif­fi­cult, costly and prob­a­bly im­pos­si­ble, so this sum­mer we en­cour­age recre­ational fish­ers to be the eyes on the wa­ter for our com­mu­nity to help pro­tect our aquatic en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

The Asian pad­dle crab’s dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures in­cludes sharp spines on the front of its shell be­tween its eyes, com­pared to the small brown na­tive four-lobed swim­ming crab that has no spines be­tween the eyes.

Pest alerts de­scrib­ing the crab are avail­able at www.fish.wa.gov.au and Fish­watch op­er­ates 24 hours on 1800 815 507.

Pic­ture: Jon Bas­sett

Fish­eries’ Mar­ion Mas­sam is ask­ing peo­ple to look out for Asian pad­dle crabs in our rivers.

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