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Saturday 25 November 2017

Now that's a crayfish! Monster specimen found in the Tarkine.

Now that's a crayfish. This 3kg+ monster Giant Freshwater Crayfish, with only one claw intact, was found this weekend in the Tarkine wilderness area - a region the Tasmanian Government would like to see thrown open to loggers and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts. 

This freshwater crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi, was found by expert Todd Walsh in a Tasmanian rainforest that remains unprotected from logging.

“Our third annual BioBlitz has been a great success already, with over 160 participants surveying sites in the Tarkine’s forests, plains, rivers and coastline," Bob Brown Foundation spokesperson Jenny Weber said.

Walsh, who has been operating in Tasmania for 40 years, said the male crayfish was the second-largest he had seen. 

“This big boy weighed over 3 kilos with only one full-size claw," Walsh said. "With two full-sized claws, he would have tipped the scales at close to 5 kilograms.

“The site was low in sediment, with superb bush extending as far as the eye can see. This location been recommended for protection for over a decade and this huge creature is an example of how these animals will thrive in near pristine environments.

“For 20 years the Giant Freshwater Crayfish has been listed as a priority species under the Regional Forest Agreement; we’ve had governments trumpet how important it is and yet not one of them has put a hectare aside specifically for this animal.

“It is now well past time for Government to put selected areas aside to ensure these giant specimens are no longer such a rare occurrence.”

He said the Bob Brown Foundation had identified 30,000 hectares that, if protected from logging and loss of riverside habitat, would secure the future of the creatures. 

The Giant Freshwater Crayfish was tagged and released without harm.

The Tarkine BioBlitz, based just outside Smithton in north-west Tasmania , continues until Sunday.

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