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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Blue swimmer crab recreational fishing

Blue swimmer crabs are one of the most popular species targetted by recreational fishers in Western Australia.

For size and bag limits for blue swimmer crabs see the tables below. 

Closed seasons also apply in certain areas. In addition, when fishing for crabs or getting to your fishing spot with the use of a powered boat, at least one person on the boat needs a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence (RFBL).  

Closed seasons

Closed seasons for blue swimmer crabs  

Location​ Closed season​ ​
​Cockburn Sound ​ Closed to crab fishing
Peel-Harvey Estuary ​ ​1 September to 31 October (inclusive)​

Crabbing gear

You can legally catch crabs by:
  • hand;
  •  wire hook; you can use a hand-held blunt wire hook to catch crabs. Hooks must not be capable of piercing the crab;
  • drop net; they must be no wider than 1.5 metres in diameter. There is a maximum limit of 10 drop nets per person or 10 drop nets per boat, regardless of how many people are aboard; or
  •  scoop net; hand-held wire or plastic scoop nets must be bowl-shaped, made of rigid mesh that is not capable of entangling a crab, have an internal diameter no bigger than 375 mm, and a depth of no more than 210 mm.

Diving for crabs is also permitted.  
Catching crabs by any method other than those listed above is illegal. 

Bag limits

The bag limits for blue swimmer crabs are the same in all bioregions except the West Coast Bioregion (from near Augusta to north of Kalbarri). 
Daily bag limits for blue swimmer crabs 
Region​ Daily bag limit​
​Daily boat limit
West Coast Bioregion
10 crabs per
person per day.​

With one RFBL: 10 crabs per boat per day.

With two or more RFBLs: 20 crabs per boat per day.

(Limit of 10 drop nets per boat​ )​

All other bioregions  
20 crabs per
person per day.​
​​ With one RFBL: 20 crabs per boat per day.
With two or more RFBLs: 40 crabs per boat per day.
(Limit of 10 drop nets per boat​ ) ​
For more information about regional crab fishing rules see our multilingual Crabbing for blue swimmer crabs in the west coast region and our Crabbing in the Gascoyne region guides.

Size limit

There is a minimum legal size limit for blue swimmer crabs. Measure each crab across the widest part of its shell using an approved gauge from a tackle shop.  

Legal minimum size

​Region Minimum size​
Statewide​ 127 mm carapace width​

Undersize or 'berried' (egg-carrying) crabs must be returned to the water immediately, before attempting to catch another crab. 

The eggs appear as a spongy mass under the female’s abdomen and go from orange to black as they mature. 

All uncooked crabs must be kept in whole form, unless being prepared for immediate consumption. Any mutilation of sea creatures is an offence and carries a maximum fine of $5,000 for an individual.

Last modified: 17/02/2016 8:31 AM

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