NSW Government makes emergency crab declaration

Fines of up to $11,000 apply for selling noxious live European green crabs

The NSW Government says it has made an emergency declaration to list a species of crab as a noxious fish, after investigations found it was being traded in NSW from interstate, said NSW Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald.

"The European green crab, also known as the European shore crab, is a highly invasive species that is known to wreck the environment and engulf native species," Macdonald said.

"It is now illegal to sell European green crabs live in NSW, the penalty is up to $11,000.

"The voracious predator feeds on many types of organisms including shellfish and other crabs.

"It has the potential to impact on our aquaculture industry if populations become large, invading out waterways and competing with native species."

Macdonald said the species has been listed as a Class 1 noxious fish under Section 209 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994. This declaration prohibits the possession and sale of live European green crabs.

The European green crab is a medium sized crab identifiable by three blunt spines between the eyes (rostrum) and five pointed spines either side of the eyes.

Adult colours range from an olive to dark green, often with yellow or orange patches underneath, while juveniles can be a lighter pale sandy colour.

They have a broad triangular shaped shell usually 5 to 6 cm in width but have been known to reach 9cm. They do not have flattened swimming flippers.


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