Crocodile egg harvesting

Photo: Adrian Gurra, Queensland Government.

Photo: Adrian Gurra, Queensland Government.

It is now possible to obtain a licence to harvest estuarine crocodile eggs in Queensland.

The Nature Conservation (Estuarine Crocodile) Conservation Plan 2018 includes provisions to authorise an individual or corporation to harvest estuarine crocodile eggs under a commercial wildlife harvesting licence, however strict limitations and requirements are in place, including that:

  • a licence application must be supported by a harvesting proposal and a report of research, conducted by an appropriately qualified person, about the state of the local crocodile population
  • the harvest must not adversely affect the local crocodile population
  • any eggs harvested must only be harvested and transported in accordance with the Australian Government Code of Practice on the Humane Treatment of Wild and Farmed Australian Crocodiles
  • comprehensive monitoring will occur in all areas where egg harvesting occurs.

Conservation of crocodile populations is a complex challenge. In areas where harvesting is authorised, the potential commercial gains for egg harvesters are anticipated to provide significant incentive for improved land stewardship. Managing land in such a way as to conserve crocodiles, and encourage crocodile nesting, is anticipated to have broader benefits for land management and conservation, for example through improved control of feral animals.

Being able to harvest crocodile eggs in Queensland is also anticipated to have positive social impacts for some regional communities. Crocodile egg harvesting is a potential employment opportunity which may be significant for small or isolated regional communities where jobs can often be scarce. With many Indigenous communities in these areas, egg harvesting can also offer people ways to work on country and play a greater role in land management and care.

Egg harvesting within Queensland will also give Queensland’s crocodile farmers the opportunity to access and grow more crocodiles without relying on the limited breeding capacity of farmed adult crocodiles, or buying eggs or hatchlings from interstate.

To support the Queensland legislation, a new Wildlife Trade Management Plan: ‘Wildlife Trade Management Plan for Queensland Crocodile Farming and Crocodile Egg Harvesting (1 November 2018–31 October 2023)’ has been approved by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment. This new Wildlife Trade Management Plan will assist any relevant persons or corporations in obtaining an export permit for any crocodile skins or other crocodile products that have come from harvested eggs.

Comprehensive monitoring requirements will be required for any areas where egg harvesting is authorised to ensure that there are no impacts to the local crocodile population. The requirements will include annual crocodile population monitoring for all waterways where egg harvesting occurs, and ongoing nest monitoring to track any potential changes to the nesting activity of local crocodile populations. The Department of Environment and Science will also ensure relevant legislation and licence conditions are complied with, in accordance with the Crocodile commercial activity compliance plan 2018 (PDF, 78.9KB) .

For more information, see the following: