Fol­low size lim­its, crab­bers warned

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Zoe Keenan

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.

Picture: Brett Ahearn

Brett Ahearn found about 12 dead, un­der­sized blue swim­mer crabs on his walk along the Gree­nough River mouth.

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