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Giant Tasmanian King Crab (Pseudocarinus gigas) Commercial Fishery

Commercial Fishing for King Crab or Giant Tasmanian Crab:

Map showing where King Crab or Giant Tasmanian Crab are found in Australian WatersIn Australia, the king crab or giant crab (Pseudocarcinus gigas) fishery is a comparatively small fishery with annual harvest set at 62.1 tonnes, but is of comparatively high value, with the landed valued estimated to be around $2 million.

The fishery is also relatively new in that it has only been commercially targeted since the early 1990s. In that time the virgin stock has been fished down and the fishery has become fully exploited. In the short life of the fishery it has moved from effectively being open access to limited entry to individual transferable quotas.

Giant crab fishing takes place in deeper waters in the western rock lobster zone. This zone extends west from longitude 143o40E, near Apollo Bay to the South Australian border and south to 40oS.

Although giant crabs are known to occur in small numbers in the eastern rock lobster zone, there is no commercial fishery in this area.

Giant crabs can only be taken using commercial rock lobster pots.

Scientific Name Pseudocarinus gigas
Location Bass Strait and eastern Tasmania
Season All year round
Size To 13kg
Australian Species Code 00 701001
Taste, Texture Good to eat.

Pseudocarinus gigas, giant deepwater crab, giant Tasmanian crab, king crab, giant crabA Giant Crab Fishery Access Licence (GCFAL) is required to take giant crab. Commercial effort and access to the fishery is restricted by limiting the number of licences in the fishery. In 2009-10 there were 30 licences, four fewer than the previous year due to non-renewals.

The fishery is linked to the commercial rock lobster fishery, and a GCFAL can only be operated in conjunction with a western zone rock lobster licence. The same boat, pots and operator must be used on linked licences fishing for both rock lobster and giant crab.

The minimum size for crabs is 150 mm (carapace length) and a closed season applies to female crabs between 1 June to 15 November, and male crabs between 15 September to 15 November.

The incidental take of giant crab in other commercial Victorian fisheries is not permitted under the giant crab quota management system.

During the three year observer program in the rock lobster and giant crab fisheries, only five giant crabs were taken as bycatch by rock lobster fishers who did not have a GCFAL, and these were returned to the water alive. The giant crab and rock lobster fisheries are generally separated by depth, with little overlap. In recent years there have been anecdotal reports of increased interaction with undersize giant crabs in shallower waters.

There is no reported bycatch of giant crabs in other Victorian commercial fisheries. Trawlers operating in Commonwealth trawl fisheries off the Victorian coast occasionally take small numbers of giant crabs as bycatch.

More information: Victorian Giant Crab Fishery Fisheries Status Report 2010

New Giant Crab Rules 2013 - from Dept Fisheries Tasmania. New Rules (PDF)

Giant Crab Catch Updates
Monthly updates on the amount of giant crab taken by commercial fishers. from Dept Fisheries Tasmania.
Quota Catch Updated Figures


Sea-Ex Trade Seafood Industry Directory Listings for:
Exporters of King Crab
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Seafood Agents for King Crab

Exporters of Crab
Importers of Crab
Processors of Crab
Wholesale Suppliers of Crab
Seafood Agents for Crab


See Also:
Giant Tasmanian King Crab (Pseudocarinus gigas) Photographs and Information
Commercial Fishery for Giant Tasmanian King Crab (Pseudocarinus gigas)
Cooking Giant Tasmanian King Crab | King Crab Recipes
Giant Tasmanian King Crab (Pseudocarinus gigas) Links, Resources & Publications


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