Commercial crab species

From 1 September 2021, there are new rules and reporting requirements for Queensland commercial fisheries.

Find fact sheets on the new rules and reporting requirements.

Mud crab fishery

Commercial fishers mostly use baited crab pots to catch mud crabs.

Most mud crabs are caught between December and June in intertidal waters. The major mud-crabbing areas are Moreton Bay, the Narrows (near Gladstone), Hinchinbrook Channel and Princess Charlotte Bay. Mud crab catch in the Gulf of Carpentaria typically contributes less than 20% to the total Queensland catch, which has averaged approximately 1000t annually over the past 5 years.

Mud crabs are an important species to the tourist and hospitality trade. They are sold into local and interstate markets.

Blue swimmer crab fishery

Commercial fishers mainly use baited collapsible pots. Blue swimmers are also taken by prawn and scallop trawling.

About 80% of the blue swimmer crab harvest, which has averaged approximately 630t annually over the past 5 years, is taken between November and May in water deeper than 3m, mainly in Moreton Bay and Hervey Bay. Crabs are also harvested in nearby offshore waters in depths up to 60m.

Most blue swimmers are sold within southern Queensland, but some are sold interstate. There is virtually no overseas export. The main product form is fresh-chilled, with a portion of the catch sold as crab meat and processed derivatives.

Spanner crab fishery

Commercial spanner-crabbers are required to use dillies.

Spanner crabs are harvested all year round, except during the spawning season from 1 November to 15 December. Most of the Queensland catch is taken in deep oceanic waters south of Yeppoon.

The fishery is managed through a total allowable catch control (TACC), currently set at 1923t, with individual transferable quotas (ITQs) also issued to fishers. The spanner crab harvest has averaged approximately 1300t annually over the past 5 years.

The bulk of the catch is exported as live product to East Asia, mainly Taiwan. The crabs are cooled to about 15°C and packed in polystyrene boxes for transportation by air. A small amount of spanner crab is also sold as chilled cooked product on local and interstate markets.


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