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An iconic native species to WA

Marron are the third largest freshwater crayfish in the world and are endemic to south-west WA and fishing for them has long been a popular pastime.  

Licensed marron fishing occurs each January, for several weeks, in multiple dams and rivers across the southwest of WA. Marron thrive in complex habitat, particularly things like large woody debris, so ensuring this is plentiful is key to supporting marron numbers in the state.

Environmental pressures including the destruction of riverbank vegetation, increasing salinity, climate change and reduced river flow have seen their range and number reduced.

Enhancing woody habitats, called ‘snags’, provide marron with a source of shade, shelter, food, and place to rest out of the water. Unfortunately, snags are lacking in many waterways having been removed for various reasons over the last hundred years.  Research also suggests marron are often territorial and won’t move far if the habitat is healthy. 

IMAGE CREDIT: WA Department of Industry and Regional Development

OzFish is working with scientists from the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation together with researchers from Murdoch University to ensure the habitat constructions are purpose-built. The logs repurposed from roadworks will form the basis for the perfect marron and fish habitat. They’ll be placed in strategic locations, perfect for restoration. 

The six snags were deployed in the Harvey River during Autumn 2024, alongside 9 fish hotels. They will then be monitored to determine their success in enhancing healthy habitat for freshwater fish and marron.

These habitat enhancements are the latest phase of a wider project, Marron More Than a Meal, led by the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce. OzFish’s contribution to the project included helping to design, source and install the different habitat structures and is supported by the WA Government’s Recreational Fishing Initiative Fund.  

This project brings together organisations, industry, government, scientists, local community and landholders to restore river function and diversity to the highly degraded lower reaches of the Harvey River in Western Australia.

It is part of wider work being led by the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce, Water Corporation, Murdoch University and Greening Australia. Collaborative partners include the Department of Water Environmental Regulation, Murdoch University, and Harvey Aboriginal Corporation. Funding is provided by State Natural Resource Management Program WA, Water Corporation, Peel Harvey Catchment Council and Alcoa Foundation. 


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8 MAY 2024 – Marron, Mens Sheds and Many Hands

Last month, OzFish celebrated the very first OzFish snags and fish hotels getting placed into the waterways of Western Australia. This marks a significant leap forward in our collaborative efforts with NGOs, community organisations and government who have been dedicated to enhancing the instream habitat for marron and freshwater fish species within the Harvey River.  The project has been years in the planning and focused on revitalising a crucial section of the river which doubles as an agricultural drain. The groups have repurposed tree stumps salvaged from the Bunbury Outer Ring Road development….

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7 MAY 2024 – HARVEY REPORTER | High school students hit the banks of Harvey River to take part in major conservation project

High school students swapped the classroom for freshwater crayfish last month, dipping their hands into a major conservation project in the Harvey River system. Nine fish hotels were submerged into the Harvey River on April 22, with the goal of increasing vital habitat to the numerous species that live in the waterway. Harvey High School students working with experts to build fish habitat. Harvey High School students working with experts to build fish habitat. Credit: Jane Townsend On the Friday before the installation, Year 7 students from Harvey Senior High School were at the riverbank learning about the native species likely to visit the hotels in coming years.

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15 FEBRUARY 2023 – Marron to get new homes from repurposed trees

Western Australia’s iconic freshwater crayfish, the Marron, is set to benefit from new homes in the form of repurposed tree logs and stumps discarded from the construction of the Bunbury Ring Road project. OzFish Unlimited, Australia’s only recreational fishing charity, is working with South West Gateway Alliance and local partners to place the repurposed tree stumps into the Harvey River over the coming months to create much-needed habitat for the endemic freshwater crayfish. Marron are the largest freshwater crayfish in Western Australia and fishing for them has long been a popular recreational pastime. This project will see OzFish volunteers turn the stumps into complex habitat, known as ‘snags’.

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This project is funded by the WA Government’s Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and is supported by project partner Recfishwest, and BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing.