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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Blue swimmer crab on a sandy ocean floor

​Cockburn Sound crab fishing closure will protect the longevity of the popular species.

Monday 20 November 2017

Cockburn crabs still recovering

Summer time is traditionally crabbing time but recreational crabbers are reminded that Cockburn Sound remains closed to blue swimmer crab fishing to protect the breeding stock.

The closure is an important measure required for the recovery of the crab stock after our monitoring programs showed a significant decline in the number of crabs in Cockburn Sound due to environmental and biological factors.

Earlier this year Fisheries and Marine Officers turned away a number of groups of crabbers who were ignoring signs about the closure and following social media tips about where crabs could be found.

Anyone who is caught crabbing in Cockburn Sound risks a $400 infringement notice for a first offence ‒ and further offences attract mandatory penalties and higher fines.

During surveys conducted by our scientists over the last year, improved numbers of crabs were caught, with higher numbers of mature and ‘berried’ (egg-carrying) females with only a small improvement in the juvenile abundance. This indicates the crab population may be recovering but not enough to reopen it to fishing this summer.

We will continue to closely monitor the stock to check the progress of recovery.

You can play your part in ensuring we have crabs for the future by sticking to the rules and not fishing in the closed area, which includes all waters of Cockburn Sound, as far north as the line from Woodman Point to Carnac Island.

Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities is asked to call FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

Last modified: 20/11/2017 12:07 PM

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