High numbers of undersized crabs in Peel-Harvey Estuary as season opens today

An undersized blue swimmer crab. PIC: Fisheries WA/Facebook

Locals are being advised there is a high number of undersized blue swimmer crabs in the Peel-Harvey Estuary as the crabbing season gets underway today, December 1.

The three-month seasonal closure between the Swan River and Binningup is now over, however the existing year-round closure for Cockburn Sound will remain for the 2023-24 season.

Crabbers are being urged to follow the rules and make sure they are aware of the size and bag limits for the area being fished.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD)'s recreational crabbing guide is also now available in Vietnamese and Chinese.

DPIRD’s blue swimmer crab researchers say majority of crabs in the Peel Harvey Estuary will be undersize (less than 127mm) with the juveniles expected to be legal size in late December or January.

Senior Fisheries Management Officer Bianca Brooks said inspecting and measuring each crab not only ensured fishers were complying with recreational crab fishing laws, it also gives small crabs a chance to grow and protected females with eggs will have a chance to provide more crabs for the future.

“The code of conduct will help fishers understand the rules and fish in a way to maximise survival of released crabs and minimises impacts on the environment while fishing,” Ms Brooks said.

“Together, these measures will safeguard crab abundance into the future.

“Crabbing is a very popular pastime in WA, with blue swimmer crabs typically found between Dunsborough to Port Hedland. Wherever you fish, keep it sustainable and remember the rules.”

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal crab fishing activity is urged to report it to DPIRD’s 24/7 FishWatch service on 1800 815 507 or online at Crime Stoppers Western Australia - click on the special FishWatch link for your report.

More from Local News

Fuel Watch
  • 171.5: X Convenience Erskine
  • 172.9: Ampol Foodary Erskine
  • 178.9: Ampol Foodary Falcon (Miami Beach)
  • 179.9: EG Ampol Falcon
  • 183.9: Coles Express Halls Head