Follow size limits, crabbers warned
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Fisheries Midwest and Gascoyne has warned people to be aware of size limits after undersized crabs were found dead in Greenough.
Brett Ahearn came across about 12 undersized blue swimmer crabs during his regular walk along the Greenough River mouth.
Mr Ahearn raised concerns after he found the crabs were all dead and undersized.
“I haven’t seen it before but it just looks like someone being stupid, catching undersized crabs and dumping them to die,” he said.
Fisheries compliance manager for the Midwest and Gascoyne Mick Kelly said there had been a large number of undersized blue swimmer crabs in the Greenough River.
“People should be aware that there are size and bag limits applied to both blue swimmer crabs in the Greenough River and mud crabs, which can be caught in the Murchison River,” he said.
Mr Kelly said people with concerns could call the Fish-Watch hotline on 1800 815 507.
The blue swimmer crabbing season runs all year in the West Coast and Gascoyne Coast zones.
The minimum size limit for blue swimmer crabs is 127mm and the limit for green mud crabs is 150mm. If any less, the crabs must be released within five minutes of catching.
Crabs are to be measured from the tips across the widest part of the shell.
Keeping undersized or berried crabs — females carrying eggs — is illegal and could lead to a fine up to $5000. Male blue swimmer crabs are more colourful than females, which appear more brown than blue. There is a limit of 20 blue swimmer crabs a person a day or 40 crabs per boat when there are two or more people on board. There is a limit of five green mud crabs a person a day or 10 per boat when two or more people are on board.
When crabbing from a boat, at least one person requires a recreational fishing from boat licence unless the limit is reached, in which case two or more people must hold a licence.
Brett Ahearn found about 12 dead, undersized blue swimmer crabs on his walk along the Greenough River mouth.