skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Close up of yabby showing head and colourful claws

Yabbies are a feral pest species in south-west rivers and water catchments, so it's important not to return them to water once caught. Photo: Henrique Kwong.

Monday 11 September 2017

Yabbies - a boon and a blight

​Many people mistakenly think that yabbies are native to WA because they are widespread in WA farm dams, where they are a valuable aquaculture product. Unfortunately, yabbies have also formed feral pest populations in south-west rivers.

Yabbies were introduced to WA from eastern Australia in the 1930s. They grow fast, reproduce at a young age and can breed several times in one season. As a result, yabbies are considered a threat to WA native freshwater crayfish because they may out-compete our natives for food and habitat.

These fast growth and rapid production abilities, however, make yabbies a valuable commercial aquaculture species, providing income for farmers in wheatbelt areas. Production can reach 200 tonnes annually.

As with any other freshwater pest, there is no minimum size or bag limit for yabbies, and we recommended you do not return them to the water but dispatch humanely​.

Last modified: 15/09/2017 12:01 PM

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at