Fishos asked to help crab tagging program

BETWEEN now and June, WA Fisheries researchers hope to tag 2000 blue swimmer crabs in the Swan-Canning Estuary, as part of a three year project on crab stocks.

Funded through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, the project will be seeking help from crab fishers who might come across a tagged crab.

Crab research scientist David Harris said a small pilot survey run between October and February was very successful and saw more than 10 percent of the tagged crabs reported as captured by recreational fishers.

“We are again calling on recreational crab fishers in the Swan and Canning to let us know if they capture a tagged crab, by calling the phone number on the tag and giving some details about their crab and to claim their reward,” Mr Harris said.

“It would be ideal if crabbers could provide the capture date, location and depth the crab was caught at, how they caught it, the tag number, size and sex of the crab, whether eggs are visible and if it was retained or returned.”

Mr Harris said a more permanent T-bar tag would be tested and it was likely to be able to survive the crab moulting process that dislodges the glue-on tags.

“In this trial we will test both types of tags,” he said. “We would very much like crabbers to leave the tag untouched and return the crab to the water, so we can find out where that crab goes next. But, if the crab is of legal size and not carrying eggs, then the crabber is entitled to keep the crab.”

“Whether they keep it or not, we urge crabbers to call the research phone number on the tag so we can gather as much data as possible.”

Mr Harris said the information would help the researchers track crab movements, to get a better understanding of how they move around the Swan-Canning Estuary.

“Volunteer logbook participants from the True Blue Swimmer Supporter program will be offered the opportunity to join researchers aboard the research vessel during the tagging project, to get a close look at how we are conducting this survey,” he said.


Find more information on blue swimmer crab recreational fishing at

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