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June 24, 2010

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is continuing to urge the State and Federal Governments to provide funding for additional research into the environmental impacts of European Green Shore Crabs in the Gippsland Lakes.

Mr Chester recently wrote to the Prime Minister and Premier seeking their support for an independent analysis into the negative environmental impacts the crabs are having on the Ramsar listed wetlands.

In response to Mr Chester, the Prime Minister’s office has indicated that the Australian Government is currently working with the states and the Northern Territory Government to develop a control plan for a number of pest species, including the European Green Shore Crab.

In addition, the State Minister for Environment has advised the Department is working with the Department of Primary Industries to develop a research proposal to monitor the impact of the crab on Victorian fisheries.

Mr Chester has urged both levels of government to move faster on the issue.

“I support further research into the environmental impacts of the crabs to make sure we have a proper understanding of the size of the problem,” Mr Chester said.

“The crabs have been found in the lakes system in the past but we need to accurately monitor the scale of the current population and evaluate the impact they are having on commercial fishing, recreational angling and the tourism sector.

“The crabs have been recognised as ‘noxious’ in several states including New South Wales and South Australia and are regarded as a serious threat to the environmental health of the Gippsland Lakes by many locals.

“I believe it is critical that the State and Federal Governments work together to fund additional research to scientifically establish the extent of the problem and any mitigation measures which need to be undertaken.”

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