The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is reminding anglers that it’s time to give the iconic Murray Crayfish a rest, with the annual southern-NSW season coming to a close from Saturday, 1 September 2018.
DPI Fisheries Manager Cameron Westaway said the Murray Crayfish fishery in NSW is closed all year as they are a vulnerable species, except in specified waters of the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers during June, July and August.
“An open season acknowledges the community’s desire for the fishery to continue, while also providing protection at other times when crayfish are normally inactive under natural conditions,” Mr Westaway said.
“The open season will officially close tomorrow, so anglers must not take any Murray Crayfish from NSW waters at all.
“In addition, the taking of berried females and the removal of heads, tails or claws of Murray Crayfish, in, on or adjacent to waters, is prohibited. They must be returned to the water immediately without harm.”
DPI Director Fisheries Compliance Patrick Tully said a compliance operation during the open season saw 791 recreational fishers checked by DPI Fisheries Officers.
“The vast majority of fishers did the right thing; however, we did still find 81 of the 791 fishers to be doing the wrong thing in relation to Murray Crayfish,” he said.
“Over the season in the Murray and Murrumbidgee areas, we saw 126 offences detected, with 28 fishers reported for possession of prohibited size Murray Crayfish. All are facing $500 on the spot fines.”
Information on freshwater fishing rules can be found in the NSW Recreational Freshwater Fishing Guide. Printer copies can be obtained from DPI Fisheries offices, at fishing licence agents and bait and tackle shops.
“Fishing laws are designed to protect, conserve and share our fisheries resources for all legitimate users and our future generations,” Mr Tully added.
People can report suspected illegal fishing to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or report via the FishSmart app.