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 it Fishwatch, with the specimen kept chilled.
Crab fishers caught four Asian paddle crabs in the river in 2012 and 2014, after one was found in near Mandurah in 2010.
The great majority of subsequent reports to FishWatch were of native crab species and Fisheries trapping and did not uncover more of the pests.
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.