Unwelcome guest makes its way to WA

5th August 2020 | Eativity editors

A shipment of an invasive marine species flown in from the eastern states has been intercepted by Western Australian government authorities. Officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) intercepted a 40-kilogram consignment of the noxious Carcinus maenas, known as European shore crabs, last week.

DPIRD’s specialist compliance and investigations manager Nigel Schofield says the live crabs had been imported from Victoria and were intended for the retail and restaurant trade.

“The suspect package of live crabs was identified by quarantine officers in air freight at Perth Airport and reported to our fisheries compliance area for identification,” he says.

“This is a highly invasive species which is established in most other Australian states but not in WA. It poses a serious threat to WA’s aquatic environment, and is known to be a voracious predator which could outcompete native species for food and habitat.”

Quarantine services are vital for protecting our native marine species.

Schofield says the crabs have been destroyed, and investigations are ongoing to determine how this live noxious species made its way to WA.

DPIRD quarantine director Greg Pickles says Western Australia was free of many pests and diseases that are found elsewhere in Australia.

“Our quarantine service works hard to maintain WA’s excellent biosecurity status by preventing the introduction of exotic plant and animal pests and diseases found in other states and territories of Australia,” he says. “This includes inspecting imports at air, road, rail, mail and sea entry points for quarantine risk material.”

More information on the European shore crab is available here. The WA public is reminded to report any suspect aquatic pests or diseases to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.