FROM DECEMBER 13, redclaw crayfish can no longer be used as live bait at Lake Tinaroo near Cairns. The new rules follow extensive consultation between the Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS), industry groups, stakeholders and the community.
QFS policy officer Anita Wohlsen said redclaw had become established in several areas outside its natural range in Queensland including Lake Tinaroo, currently the only location outside its natural range where it may be used as live bait.
Ms Wohlsen said using crayfish as live bait was encouraged only within their natural range to prevent unnecessary spread of crayfish species.
“The new regulation is aimed at preventing the further spread of redclaw to areas where they could compete with other species native to the area for food and space as well as bring with them threats of disease,” she said.
“Preventing the use of redclaw as a live bait at Lake Tinaroo is a precautionary measure to protect other species and help to ensure the sustainability of freshwater fish species.”
Redclaw are found naturally in the Gulf of Carpentaria Drainage Division and far northern river basins within the East Coast Drainage Division such as the Hann, Jacky Jacky, Lockhart, Normanby, Olive, Pascoe, and Stewart.
Ms Wohlsen said amendments last year to the Fisheries (Freshwater) Management Plan 1999 saw the redclaw take and possession limit removed from Lake Tinaroo as well as the regulation to return berried females to the water.
“The new rules will standardise the area where redclaw regulations apply, streamlining the legislation for the community,” she said.
Ms Wohlsen pointed out anglers could continue to collect native crustaceans such as Macrobrachium (freshwater shrimp) from Lake Tinaroo to use as live bait as an alternative to redclaw. – ABC NewsReads: 5081