Water

Cray season opens

By Country News

Anglers can try their hand at catching Murray spiny freshwater crayfish, with the three-month fishing season now open.

The season, which began on Saturday, is a good excuse to get outdoors according to Victorian Fisheries Authority chief executive officer Travis Dowling.

While Mr Dowling is keen for all Victorians to give cray fishing a go, he said people must know the bag limits and remember to clearly label their hoop nets if using them.

‘‘We want everyone to do the right thing, so it’s important to read up on bag and possession limits, carefully measure the size of crays caught and fish with the right gear. This includes clearly labelling your nets with name and address,’’ Mr Dowling said.

‘‘It’s also really important to return undersize or oversize crays and females in berry 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 on or near Victorian waters; total possession limit of four crays anywhere in Victoria including your car, boat or home; a minimum carapace length (the hard upper shell) of 10cm and a maximum of 12cm; a valid recreational fishing licence unless exempt; and a requirement to immediately release female crays with eggs or young attached, and any undersize or oversize crays.

Mr Dowling said equipment restrictions also applied.

‘‘They can be taken by hand, up to 10 baited lines without hooks, or with five or 10 hoop nets depending on the waterway.’’

Mr Dowling said Operation Oak would target Victoria’s north-central and north-east river systems, particularly during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

‘‘Officers from across the state will be conducting uniformed and plain-clothed patrols of rivers and lakes to ensure fishers are fishing sustainably,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s also important to keep in mind that a NSW fishing licence is required to fish the Murray River.’’

If you’re looking to catch and keep Murray spiny freshwater crayfish, the VFA recommends the mid to lower reaches of larger rivers such as the Ovens and Goulburn river systems.

■For more information about Murray cray fishing rules, visit: www.vfa.vic.gov.au/fishingguide