PIRSA Fisheries officers have fined a group who were allegedly found with close to 100 undersized blue swimmer crabs at Thompson Beach.
According to a recent report in The Advertiser, the group of three were fined $860.
There are a number of signs at Thompson Beach (such as the one pictured above) flagging rules relating to taking blue swimmer crabs, which include:
- Minimum size of 11 cm measured across the carapace (upper shell) from the base of the largest spines.
- Personal daily bag limit of 20 crabs – combined limit with sand crabs.
- Daily boat limit of 60 when 3 or more people are on board – combined limit with sand crabs.
- All Female crabs with external eggs must be returned to the water immediately.
A crab fishing brochure outlining the dos and don’ts can be downloaded here (PDF).
Based on the rules above, the group not only had undersized crabs, but were well over the bag limit. It appears the offenders got off relatively lightly, with the maximum fine possible being $20,000.
While it’s disappointing that some choose to continue to ignore the rules, it has been good to see Fisheries officers regularly in attendance at Thompson Beach checking on catches. The limits and size restrictions are in place for good reason. There may be plenty of blue swimmer crabs at Thompson Beach (for now) during the crabbing season (September – April), but they aren’t an unlimited resource.
Fisheries can be contacted on the 24/7 Fishwatch hotline on 1800 065 522 to report any illegal crabbing/fishing activity. If you see something, say something.
Care also needs to be taken when visiting Thompson Beach for crabbing and other activities to minimise general impacts on the area’s sensitive marine, foreshore and wetlands environments – and the impacts on local residents and wildlife. This includes observing the 40 kph speed limit throughout the town.