Practice responsible crab fishing this summer

A summer holiday on the Gold Coast is the perfect time to go fishing for mud and sand crabs, prompting a reminder to recreational fishers to practice responsible crabbing. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said crab pots in the Broadwater’s main navigational channels have recently been a problem for commercial marine operators. “Some crab pots have drifted into the channel with the tides, while others have been intentionally set there and this impedes the safe passage of vessels,” Mr Furner said. “Marine operators have reported accidentally running over crab pot ropes, causing their boat propellers to become fouled. “A good rule of thumb is to use a crab pot rope with a length proportionate to the depth of water where the pot is set to prevent an overlength rope allowing a potting apparatus to enter a boating channel.” Minister Furner said Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers will continue to monitor the issue and educate fishers about the importance of keeping navigable channels clear. “The proper use of fishing gear is ultimately the responsibility of fishers who need to be aware of Queensland’s crab fishing laws, including restrictions on equipment, size and possession limits,” he said. “I encourage recreational fishers to download the new ‘Qld fishing 2.0’ software app to familiarise themselves with crab fishing rules and regulations.” The legal requirements that apply to recreational crabbing in Queensland include:

  • In tidal waters, no more than four crab pots or dillies, or a combination of both, may be used or possessed on a boat per person at any time.

  • All crabbing equipment needs to be clearly marked with an identification tag showing the user’s surname and address and must have a light-coloured surface float attached when not tied to a fixed object.

  • The float must not be less than 15 cm in any dimension and also identify the user’s surname.

  • When the pot is tied to a fixed object, a tag that shows the user’s surname must be attached to a part of the rope that is above the high-water mark.

  • Sunken and unmarked pots are illegal.

Recreational crab fishers can avoid crab fishing equipment being lost by following these tips:

  • Check crab pots regularly and remove them from the water when they are not being used.

  • Ensure crab pots are heavy enough with enough rope attached to the float so they are not lost or pulled under water in strong tidal currents.

  • Check gear regularly to avoid it being misplaced during tidal events.

  • Set crab pots below the low tide mark and in a sufficient depth of water at all stages of the tide so that crabs are not exposed to the sun and unwanted or regulated crabs can be released alive. It is an offence if the apparatus contains marine product and is out of the water.

Under Fisheries regulations, penalties for crabbing-related offences can include on-the-spot fines of $266 for taking or possessing one to three undersize crabs, $533 for more than three undersize crabs or a female crab and $1344 for interfering with crabbing apparatus. For detailed information on Queensland fishing rules and regulations, download the ‘Qld Fishing 2.0’ app, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23. Follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@DAFQld).

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