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Keep an eye out for Asian paddle crabs this summer

The Department of Fisheries is once again calling for your help to look out for and report any pest Asian paddle crabs that you might find or see when out on our waters.

As a River Guardian, you are the front-line defence against pest species.

Since the discovery of four Asian paddle crabs in the Swan River in 2012 and 2014, the community, commercial and recreational crabbers and fishers have been essential partners in an ongoing project run by the Department to help ensure the aggressive pest species does not establish in Western Australia. Aggressive and non-native, this crab could out-compete native species like our iconic blue swimmer.

The pest crab varies greatly in colour but its definitive features are sharp spines between the eyes and six spines down each side.

We urge you to take a good look at any crabs you catch and in any doubt, take a photo, keep the crab and ring FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

If you think you have found or seen an Asian paddle crab:

1. Examine each crab closely and compare to the photographs on the pest alert. If in any doubt, please retain the animal.
2. Make a note of when and where you saw or caught it, including GPS readings (if possible).
3. Take photographs of it from above (like those featured in the pest alert), and also from directly below.
4. Please keep the crab and contact the FishWatch number 1800 815 507 – you should do this before coming ashore or as soon as possible after, so a Fisheries and Marine Officer can make contact with you and provide further advice.
5. Do not eat it.
6. If you keep and report a suspected Asian paddle crab, it will not be included as part of your daily bag limit of crabs.
7. Visit www.fish.wa.gov.au to discover more out about maintaining good vessel hygiene to avoid spreading marine pests.