Asian shore crab suspected in Mount Martha and Rickett’s Point

6 November 2020

Agriculture Victoria is calling on members of the community in and around Mount Martha and Rickett’s Point to assist in surveillance for the presence of the Asian shore crab.

At both locations, a member of the public photographed what appears to be a suspect Asian shore crab at Mount Martha and Rickett’s Point beaches.

Originally from the waters around Japan, Russia, North China and Korea, the Asian shore crab is not known to be established in Australia, but it has the potential to become a major pest.

Principal Officer Invasive Marine Species from Agriculture Victoria, Dr Richard Stafford-Bell, said the species could spread rapidly and consume and outcompete our native species including commercially important scallops, mussels and oysters.

The Asian shore crab could also spread devastating disease to our native prawns, crabs and lobsters.

'The key features of the Asian shore crab are banded markings on the legs, three spines on either side of the eyes, spots on the claws and a square-shaped shell up to about 4 cm wide,' Dr Stafford-Bell said.

The Asian shore crab can spread naturally or be relocating to new areas attached to fishing and diving equipment and the hulls of vessels, including kayaks and canoes.

'Members of our community have a strong role to play in helping us reduce the spread of marine pests and in protecting our unique marine environment,' Dr Stafford-Bell said.

'If you think you see the Asian shore crab, please report it immediately to Agriculture Victoria, noting the location, date and time, and photograph it if possible to assist our investigations.'

'All equipment used in marine areas should be washed in fresh water after use then thoroughly dried to reduce the risk of spreading marine pests. This is particularly important for people moving any equipment used in Port Phillip Bay to other areas.

'Eradicating marine pests is extremely difficult and is only possible in exceptional circumstances. That’s why the help of the community is so important in locating any further crabs.'

Sightings can be reported by emailing marine.pests@agriculture.vic.gov.au, phoning 136 186 or via the Snap, Send Solve app or the Agriculture Victoria website.

Media contact: Nicole Cairns, 0436 675 030

Asian shore crab