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Source: Auckland Council

Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board is supporting Te Kura O Ōkiwi and Mana Whenua to take action to protect Aotea’s waters.

Earlier this year, the Asian paddle crab was found in the Whangapoua estuary at Aotea / Great Barrier Island.

First detected in New Zealand in 2000, the Asian paddle crab is an aggressive predator competing with native crabs for habitat and food, as well as consuming culturally and economically important shellfish species. 

The large swimming crabs are native to South East Asia and are normally found in the waters of Japan, Korea and Malaysia.

In response, Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board is contributing $9800 towards a pilot project for trapping the Asian paddle crab and educating the community and visitors about preventing the spread of the crab and other marine pests.

Te Kura O Ōkiwi and Mana Whenua will be involved in the trapping initiative which will also help determine the density and distribution of the crab within Aotea’s waters.

“The kura will take on a leadership role in the project. Over the next five months, for one week out of each month, students and teachers will set and check around 20 traps once a day at low tide,” says Thomas Daly, contract manager.

“With the support of a supervisor, they’ll be learning all the necessary skills in trapping, handling, identification and data collection before compiling their findings and presenting the project to the community.”

Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board chair Izzy Fordham says the board hopes the initiative will highlight the importance of pest pathway management to the community and visitors to the Island.

“Unfortunately species like the Asian paddle crab are very difficult to completely eradicate, but by keeping our boats clean, we can help to slow the spread.”

“We’re really pleased to support community-led action on this challenge and we look forward to seeing the results at the end of the pilot.”

Trapping starts this year, running through until April 2021. The project may be extended if the pilot is successful. 

Visit to find out more about how you can help to protect our waters from marine pest species like the Asian paddle crab.