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Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish surveys

Tasmania’s lush northwest is home to the world’s largest freshwater crustacean, the Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish (Astacopsis gouldi) also known by the Indigenous name of ‘Tayatea’.

Slow growing and long-lived, the GFC has been known to reach weights of up to 6 kg, although most large specimens in recent times have been between 2-3 kg.

Last week, two of our Ecologists conducted targeted surveys for this elusive giant and they weren’t left disappointed. A number of large male and female GFC were observed.

The GFC is endemic to Tasmania and is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under both the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

This species requires healthy, clean and clear waterways surrounded by native riparian vegetation. Habitat characteristics include a combination of flowing and still waters, deep pools, decaying logs, well-shaded undercut banks and loose rocky substrate that provides juveniles with shelter.

Illegal fishing and the ongoing loss of healthy habitat continue to threaten this species. It is therefore extremely important that we establish conservation agreements with landholders and developers as well as protect and improve priority habitat for this species.