A male Asian Paddle Crab (Charybdis japonica), which is a threatening invasive species, has been found in South Australian waters by a commercial Blue Swimmer Crab fisher.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the discovery of an Asian Paddle Crab is alarming on a number of fronts.
“Asian Paddle Crabs are an invasive species that threaten our local seafood industries and can be toxic if eaten by humans,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The Asian Paddle Crab is an aggressive, exotic crab that could spread diseases to our local prawns, crabs an lobsters and outcompete native species like our prized Blue Swimmer Crab.
“We are asking all fishers - commercial, recreational and charter - who are out on the water to keep an eye out for this unwelcome species. We do not want the Asian Paddle Crab to establish in South Australia – if fishers see any unusual species, please report them immediately to Fishwatch on 1800 065 522.
“I commend the commercial blue crab fisher who reported the Asian Paddle Crab to PIRSA immediately. This is just one example of the important conservation role our commercial fishers play, as our stewards of the seas.
“The Asian Paddle Crab is likely to have entered our waters on a vessel, such as in an anchor locker, bilge, sea chest or internal seawater system. This is a timely reminder for everyone to keep boats clean.
“The State Government is working with fishing groups and tackle shops to increase awareness of the species.”
The Asian Paddle Crab is a native species in central and eastern Asia (China, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand), and has established in New Zealand. Unfortunately South Australia has a suitable habitat for the Asian Paddle crab to establish, which is why we need to be vigilant.
Asian Paddle Crab – what to look out for:
- it can grow up to 120mm wide, which is smaller than the Blue Swimmer Crab
- found in a number of colours – pale, olive green, brown, purple
- sharp spines between its eyes
- six spines down each side of the shell.
Any sightings of a suspected Asian Paddle Crab must be reported to Fishwatch on 1800 065 522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org