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Government controls and legislation for crab fisheries

Licensing

There are 430 commercial crabbing licences that allow the take of blue swimmer crab and mud crabs and about 200 spanner crab licences in Queensland. Less than 70 of the 200 spanner crab licences hold quota to access the fishery. Commercial crab fishers comply with the following licensing laws:

No new licences or symbols are issued for existing fisheries. To enter a fishery, you must first obtain the correct licence and symbol(s) from an existing operator. An exception exists for the C2 fishery symbol; however, a new C2 symbol will only be issued where a fisher has acquired spanner crab quota from another quota holder.

Licences can be transferred from person to person and fishery symbols can be transferred from one licence to another licence.

Monitoring and reporting

Commercial fishers have a legal obligation to report information about their fishing activities in a compulsory daily logbook. All crab fishers must contribute data about their day's catch, the location fished, the gear used and any interactions with species of conservation interest. Fisheries Queensland uses this data to assess and monitor the status of individual species and fisheries in Queensland.

Regulations

The following laws apply to Queensland's commercial crab fisheries. For more detailed information, refer to the Fisheries Regulation 2008.

An image of minimum crab size limits in Queensland fisheries.

Mud crab fishery

  • Licence to be marked with a C1 fishery symbol.
  • Take limited to crabs only (but not spanner crabs).
  • Females must be returned to the water.
  • Minimum size 15cm across carapace (tip to tip).
  • No total catch limit.
  • No individual catch limit.
  • Maximum of 50 pots, traps and dillies if the C1 fishery symbol is written on a licence once. If the C1 fishery symbol is written on a licence more than once, a maximum of 100 pots, traps and dillies.

Blue swimmer crab fishery

  • Licence to be marked with a C1 fishery symbol.
  • Take limited to crabs only (but not spanner crabs).
  • Females must be returned to the water.
  • Minimum size 11.5cm across carapace (notch to notch).
  • No total catch limit.
  • No individual catch limit.
  • Maximum of 50 pots, traps and dillies if the C1 fishery symbol is written on a licence once. If the C1 fishery symbol is written on a licence more than once, a maximum of 100 pots, traps and dillies.

Spanner crab fishery

  • Licence to be marked with a C2 or C3 fishery symbol.
  • Take limited to spanner crabs only.
  • Berried females (i.e. females carrying eggs) must be returned to the water.
  • Minimum size 10cm carapace length.
  • A total allowable commercial catch is set once every 2 years for the managed area A of the spanner crab fishery.
  • An individual transferable quota (ITQ) applies to managed area A (ITQ can be traded between spanner crab fishers). Daily in-possession limits also apply to managed area B.
  • Pots, traps and dillies limit
    • managed area A: 45 at a time
    • managed area B: 30 at a time.
  • Daily in-possession limits also apply to managed area B.

Other relevant legislation

Contact

General enquiries 13 25 23