The future of research and management of Murray crayfish in the Edward Wakool river system is in good hands thanks to a community pilot monitoring program recently launched in the State’s Riverina. This ongoing collaborative project between Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Murray Local Land Services and Nature Glenelg Trust has enlisted the help of the Edward Wakool Anglers Association (EWAA) to undertake crayfish monitoring next year.
DPI Research Officer, Martin Asmus has teamed up with social scientist Dr Sylvia Zukowski, ecologist Dr Nick Whiterod and Senior Land Services Officer Anthony Conallin with the aim of using the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm of the local EWAA members to develop a locally based long-term monitoring program for the iconic native species.
The project is using ‘citizen science’ to collect scientific information and engage local stakeholders. This creates community ownership over the project as well as providing cost effective sampling data. The Edward Wakool river system was recently closed to recreational fishing for Murray crayfish, but the citizen science program under permit will allow for continued monitoring so we can further understand the population and their distribution within the area.”
A training weekend was held in Deniliquin and involved local teams receiving hands-on instruction in sampling techniques and data recording. With ‘pots’ baited and clipboards at the ready, teams hit the water early the next day at several locations along the Edward River. EWAA president, Ian Fisher has welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the program saying that communication and consultation were critical in managing a recreational species such as Murray crayfish. The data collected will contribute to a mark-recapture study planned for next year and give a better picture of the numbers of crayfish at sites within the Edward River.
If you are interested in finding out more about Murray Crayfish, the Department of Primary Industries have released a new summary fact sheet, click here to read on.