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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
A blue swimmer crab with a T-bar tag attached to it

​The T-bar tag was the most successful method trialled during the project

Thursday 15 June 2017

True blue crabbers boost research project

Over 200 recreational crabbers sharing their catch data with us has helped efforts to secure the future of blue swimmer crab stocks in south-western Australia.

The participating crabbers regularly provided information about the number, size and location of crabs they caught, and how often and what methods they used to fish for crabs, under the True Blue Swimmer Supporter citizen science initiative.

This initiative was part of the Southwest Recreational Crabbing Project, which ran for three years from 1 June 2013 and was made possible through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, funded by licence fees and supported by Recfishwest.

The project focused on three key recreational blue swimmer fishing areas – the Swan-Canning Estuary, the Leschenault Estuary and wider Bunbury area, and Geographe Bay.

The information provided by crabbers was used to gain an understanding of crab catches and the effort that went into them, so as to develop methods for ongoing assessment of the breeding stock in these areas. The crabbers also helped us review the effectiveness of several different crab tagging methods.

Attaching identification tags to their carapace means the tag is lost when the crab moult their shells. The most successful tag trialed was a micro T-bar type, used on over 2,600 crabs, which passes through a very small area of the crab’s flesh and is not affected by moulting.

For more information about the results of this project, see Fisheries Research Report 218.

Last modified: 15/06/2017 2:03 PM

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