Redclaw Crayfish

Latin name: Cherax quadricarinatus

Common names: freshwater crayfish, redclaw

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Key Facts

  • Redclaw crayfish are a species of freshwater crayfish endemic to tropical Queenslandand Papua New Guinea, and are farmed in QLD.
  • Farming operations are generally small scale; crayfish are farmed in ponds or farm irrigation dams.
  • Most farms do not add additional food to ponds and dams; other operations add feed, although there is little reliance on marine resources (fishmeal).
  • There is minimal effluent from farming operations, as water is used for other purposes, such as watering livestock and crops.
  • Chemicals are not used in redclaw crayfish farming.

Cooking & Recipes


Redclaw crayfish are a very special crustacean, similar to yabbies or prawns. Their firm, sweet flesh is a real treat and cooking should be simple to allow it to be enjoyed at its best. Steam or poach whole redclaw until the shell goes a vivid orange colour (6-7 minutes depending on size), then pick the meat from the shell and enjoy it in a simple salad, or by themselves accompanied by good bread, butter, and a squeeze of lemon. Alternatively, redclaw can be split down the middle and barbecued or grilled like a lobster. Top with a little butter and remove from the heat when the meat starts to pull from the shell edges to ensure that they don’t overcook.

More information

  • Australian production (31t in 2020/21)

Redclaw crayfish are endemic to tropical Queensland and Papua New Guinea. They are farmed semi-intensively and extensively throughout QLD, but primarily in the southeast.

Redclaw crayfish are farmed semi-intensively (with active feeding and management) and extensively. Extensive production uses no additional feed inputs (hay is sometimes added to ponds in order to fertilise them and trigger plankton growth which is then consumed by redclaw crayfish. In semi-intensive farming, additional artificial feed is used, though this is vegetable-based with little or no marine ingredients (fishmeal).

Redclaw crayfish farm wastewater is typically recycled or used in other agricultural production, and there is effectively little/no effluent produced. No chemicals are used in production, and because marron are extremely sensitive to agricultural chemicals, redclaw crayfish farming requires careful/minimal use of these chemicals in adjacent agricultural operations.

Ponds used for redclaw crayfish farming are also used by a range of bird, reptile (particularly turtles and tortoises), fish amphibian and mammal species; as habitat and water sources.

Semi-intensive redclaw crayfish farms use physical barriers including fencing and mesh screening of ponds to control wildlife impacts. There is no evidence of lethal controls being used to manage protected species.