Freshwater fishers are encouraged to try their hands at getting some fresh Murray crayfish for the table with the three-month fishing season now started.
Wodonga Fisheries Officer, Matthew McMahon, is reminding people in search of a fresh feed of Victoria’s prize freshwater crayfish to know their limits.
“Spiny freshwater crays are a great delicacy sought by many, so it’s important we all know the bag limits, carefully measure the size of crays caught and fish with the right gear,” Mr McMahon said.
“It’s also really important to return female crays with eggs attached to the water so the fishery remains sustainable in the long run for all to enjoy.”
Murray cray fishing rules include a daily bag limit of two crays per person; total possession limit of four crays anywhere in Victoria including your car, boat or home; minimum carapace length (the hard upper shell) of 10cm and a maximum of 12cm; valid recreational fishing licence, unless exempt; and the requirement to immediately release female crays with eggs or young attached, and any oversize crays.
Mr McMahon said equipment restrictions also applied, which govern how Murray crays may be caught by fishers.
“They can be taken by hand, up to 10 baited lines without hooks, or with 5 or 10 hoop nets depending on the waterway,” he said.
To help fishers measure their crays, free plastic tools have been manufactured, funded by fishing licence fees.
They are available by calling the Fisheries Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Mr McMahon said Operation Galaxy would target Victoria’s North East this season and involve officers from across the state.
“Throughout the season we’ll be conducting uniformed and plain-clothed patrols of rivers and lakes to ensure fishers are abiding by the rules and fishing sustainably,” he said.
“Those people who do break the rules risk on-the-spot infringement notices worth between $155 and $777, with more serious matters to be dealt with by magistrates in court.”
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal cray fishing is encouraged to ring 13FISH (133474) anytime.
For more information about Murray cray fishing rules visit www.vic.gov.au/fishingguide or download the free smartphone app called ‘Vic Fishing’.