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Wildlife Trade Management Plan - Queensland Crocodile Farming

A proposed new Wildlife Trade Management Plan (WTMP) covering Queensland Crocodile Farming has recently been developed by the Queensland Government to include the commercial harvest of crocodile eggs from the wild. The proposed WTMP has been submitted to the Australian Government for their consideration.

What is the Queensland Government proposing to change?

Australia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Populations of both the Australian freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) and the Australian estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) are listed in CITES Appendix II, meaning trade must be controlled in order to avoid use incompatible with their survival. The Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) regulates the international movement of wildlife and wildlife products and stipulates that the proposed export of a CITES Appendix II specimen must be exported in accordance with an approved WTMP.

The Queensland Government is requesting Australian Government approval of a new WTMP to include commercial egg harvesting; and is proposing to amend Queensland legislation to allow for the harvest of crocodile eggs under the commercial wildlife harvest licence process. Together, the proposed WTMP and the proposed amendments to Queensland legislation would allow for the issuing of commercial wildlife harvest licences for egg harvesting, and would allow for the commercial sale, including export, of any resulting animal products (e.g. crocodile skins). These commercial wildlife harvest licences would only be issued in limited circumstances where there is sufficient scientific evidence to support that harvesting would have no detriment on crocodile populations.

If you would like further information on the proposed changes to the Nature Conservation (Estuarine Crocodile) Conservation Plan or the WTMP please email .

Why is the Queensland Government proposing to allow the harvest of estuarine crocodile eggs?

Estuarine crocodiles in Northern Territory and Queensland form a single population. Since the 1980’s, crocodile egg harvesting has been allowed in the Northern Territory and has proven to be ecologically sustainable. The Northern Territory egg harvesting industry supplies viable eggs for commercial crocodile farms that eventually supply skins and leather to international markets. However, this practice is not currently allowed under Queensland law and Queensland farms often resort to purchasing eggs from the Northern Territory because they cannot be legally sourced in Queensland.

The Queensland Government believes that egg harvesting could be implemented in Queensland, where there is sufficient scientific evidence to support that harvesting crocodile eggs in a particular area would have no detriment on crocodile populations. In places where the science is most advanced, for example the west coast of Cape York, research has demonstrated that it is possible to harvest eggs with no detriment to local crocodile populations.

For further information on the type of scientific evidence that may be required to support a harvest proposal, please refer to the report Review of a Trial Harvest of Estuarine Crocodile Eggs in the Pormpuraaw Deed of Grant in Trust Lands and Recommendations as to an Experimental Commercial Harvest by Dr Laurence Taplin (PDF, 3.1M), in relation to the area of Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council.

About the existing Wildlife Trade Management Plan

The existing WTMP (which does not include egg harvesting) is proposed to be replaced by the new WTMP. 

See the current Wildlife Trade Management Plan – Queensland Crocodile Farming 1 January 2018–31 December 2022.

Last updated
15 June 2018