27 May 2013
Recreational limits of blue swimmer crabs will be reduced to a daily individual bag limit of 20 (from 40) and a daily boat limit of 60 (from 120) in Gulf St Vincent only.
The Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for the upcoming season in Gulf St Vincent has been reduced to 196 tonnes for the 2013-14 season, which is a 20 per cent reduction from the current quota.
The reduced limits follow research that showed a drop in crab numbers in the Gulf of St Vincent.
The 2011-12 Blue Crab Fishery stock assessment report shows that while the Spencer Gulf fishery remains in a strong position, the Gulf St Vincent fishery is currently in its weakest position since a quota management system was first introduced.
In particular, a decline in the abundance of juvenile crabs below the acceptable limit set out in the fishery’s management plan triggered a review of the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for the upcoming season.
The report was recently published by South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Aquatic Sciences.
In addition to the quota change, members of the South Australian Blue Crab Pot Fishers Association have proposed a closure to commercial blue crab fishing in Gulf St Vincent, including metropolitan waters, from 1 July 2013 to 15 January 2014.
This proposal will assist juvenile crabs to grow into the fishery, and provide additional protection for spawning females during the spawning season, which peaks in late spring.
The reduced recreational limits come into effect for 12 months from July 2013 until 30 June 2014 and apply in Gulf St Vincent only.
Management measures such as these are implemented to ensure the ecologically sustainable development of South Australian fish stocks and to protect our international standing as a supplier of premium seafood.
These arrangements will be reviewed following the release of an updated stock assessment for the fishery.
The TACC for the Spencer Gulf Blue Crab Fishery will remain unchanged for the 2013-14 season at 381 tonne.
The recreational blue crab fishing limit for Spencer Gulf and other South Australian waters will remain at a daily individual bag limit of 40 and a daily boat limit of 120.
Details on blue crabs and legal limits and lengths go to the Fisheries webpage.