We are urging recreational fishers in the Peel-Harvey Estuary to immediately release any undersize blue swimmer crab they catch before attempting to catch another.
It is vital to measure your crabs accurately as soon as you catch them and immediately return any undersize or ‘berried’ (egg-carrying) crabs carefully to the water, to give them the best chance of survival. Crab gauges are available from tackle shops.
Fisheries and Marine Officers and community education staff patrolling the estuary found crabbers holding on to undersize crabs, rather than releasing them straight away as they are legally required to do.
Some people didn’t have a crab gauge with them when fishing or only had one gauge between several crabbers. As a result, instead of measuring crabs as soon as they were caught and immediately releasing any undersize ones, some crabbers were waiting until they were back onshore.
By the time these crabs are finally measured, they can be in poor health and are then often released into shallow water at the shoreline, rather than into deeper, more oxygen-rich water, which would increase their chances of survival.
Blue swimmer crabs have a minimum size limit of 127 mm, measured from the tips of the spikes across the widest part of the shell.
For more information about crab fishing see our recreational fishing rules.
You can also download our multilingual Crabbing for blue swimmer crabs in the West Coast Bioregion brochure or pick up a copy from our offices and participating information outlets.