The Secret Life of Painted Crayfish

“Crayfish in those days [the 1970s] were plentiful. Reef walls near Thursday Island displayed forests of feelers waving like brown sea grass in the tide, the cray often piled four and five to a hole” . John Singe, My Island Home, 2003.

I’ve been doing some fisheries work with Torres Strait traditional owners, AFMA and the TSRA in Torres Strait recently and came across this great Melbourne Uni blog about the lifecycle of the Ornate Tropical Rock Lobster – Painted Cray – or Kayar as they are known locally (Panulirus ornatus).

They’re the basis of a very valuable fishery in the region, both for traditional owners and their communities, and a valuable commercial fishery where they are taken live for export.  Around half of the licences are now owned by traditional owners and half by commercial fishers.

Painted crays are aptly named with beautiful colours and intricate markings across their carapace.  Truly a tropical treasure and worthy of our very best fisheries management efforts…

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