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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

​Measure your crabs carefully

Friday 29 November 2019

A summer of South-West blue swimmer crabbing set for good start

    • ​Fishers from Perth to Minninup Beach near Bunbury can resume crabbing on Sunday
    • The spring closures protect breeding stock and bolster the blue swimmers' resilience
    • Following the three-month break, crab researchers are predicting a good season start

Fishers are reminded that from this Sunday (December 1) they are able to return to fishing for the popular blue swimmer crabs in the Swan and Canning rivers, the Peel-Harvey Estuary and south along coastal waters from Perth to Minninup Beach, just south of Bunbury. 

Crab fishing has been closed since September 1, following the introduction of a new annual closure to give breeding crabs improved protection during spring when they are vulnerable to capture.

The closure was implemented in agreement with Recfishwest, Western Australian Fishing Industry Council and the Southern Seafood Producers WA Association.

The return to fishing brings with it a new daily bag limit of five blue swimmer crabs in the Swan and Canning rivers. Within Geographe Bay, the maximum bag limit of 10 blue swimmers still applies, however, recreational fishers cannot take more than five female crabs per day.

For all other areas in the West Coast Bioregion, including the Peel-Harvey Estuary, the daily bag limit per fisher remains unchanged at 10 blue swimmer crabs and the boat limit is still 20 per day. The separate year-round closure in Cockburn Sound still applies.

For more information on the fishing rules, visit

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:

"Crab is king for Western Australian recreational fishers and fishing for them is part of WA's highly valued summer lifestyle. That's why we implemented protections earlier this year to ensure generations to come can share in this experience. 

"In good news for crab fishers, the department's researchers advise me that the warm November weather should bring a good start to the new crabbing season.

"The peak commercial and recreational fishing bodies have shown real leadership by supporting the blue swimmer crab protection strategy.

"As announced in August, work is underway to buy out commercial licences in the Warnbro Sound, Cockburn Sound and Mandurah to Bunbury developmental crab fisheries, prior to their permanent closure.

"I'd like to thank recreational fishers for giving blue swimmer crabs a break over spring and hope they have a great time crabbing from Sunday."

Minister's office - 6552 6100

Last modified: 29/11/2019 1:54 PM

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