What exactly is a Murray Cray?

The Murray Cray season is up and running, but many recreational fishers are unaware of the significance of the species. We at VRFish are happy to provide some background information on the popular recreational fishing species. 

Murray Crayfish (Euastacus armatus), is the world’s second largest crayfish and is a threatened species and has experienced recent declines in distribution and abundance. Approximately one-third of freshwater crayfish species globally are threatened with extinction, including the Murray Crayfish. 

The Murray Crayfish is long lived (25+ years), very slow growing, has limited mobility and reproductive output, and matures at 8-9 years.

The species is vulnerable to overfishing and ‘blackwater’ events during flooding which result in extremely low levels of oxygen in the water. Fisheries regulations for Murray Crayfish include a restricted harvest season, closures for regions, a bag limit, a harvestable length limit and a ban on possessing egg bearing females, to help counterbalance the possible effects of over harvesting.

The Arthur Rylah Institute has developed a population model to examine the risk of harvesting and blackwater events. This model found the risk of decline would increase if an increase in fishing was combined with low frequencies of blackwater disturbance. 

Victoria’s three month freshwater cray fishing season began on June To stay up to date with size and bag limits for Murray crays, and permitted equipment, grab a free Recreational Fishing Guide from your local tackle shop or get online at

For further information, see below

Scott M.C. Raymond and Charles R. Todd research article.

Charles R. Todd et. al research article.

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