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Queensland Spanner Crab Fishery: Commercial quota setting for June 2016 – May 2018

Campbell, M. J., O'Neill, M. F. and McGilvray, J. G. (2016) Queensland Spanner Crab Fishery: Commercial quota setting for June 2016 – May 2018. Technical Report. State of Queensland.

PDF (Queensland Spanner Crab Fishery : Commercial quota setting for June 2016 – May 2018)


The Queensland (QLD) fishery for spanner crabs primarily lands live crab for export overseas, with gross landings valued around A$5 million per year. Quota setting rules are used to assess and adjust total allowable harvest (quota) around an agreed target harvest of 1631 t and capped at a maximum of 2000 t. The quota varies based on catch rate indicators from the commercial fishery and a fishery independent survey. Quota management applies only to ‘Managed Area A’ which includes waters between Rockhampton and the New South Wales (NSW) border.

This report has been prepared to inform Fisheries Queensland (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) and stakeholders of catch trends and the estimated quota of spanner crabs in Managed Area A for the forthcoming annual quota periods (1 June 2016–31 May 2018). The quota calculations followed the methodology developed by the crab fishery Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) between November 2007 and March 2008.

The QLD total reported spanner crab harvest was 1170 t for the 2015 calendar year. In 2015, a total of 55 vessels were active in the QLD fishery, down from 262 vessels at the fishery’s peak activity in 1994. Recent spanner crab harvests from NSW waters average about 125 t per year, but fell to 80 t in 2014–2015.

The spanner crab Managed Area A commercial standardised catch rate averaged 0.818 kg per net-lift in 2015, 22.5% below the target level of 1.043. Compared to 2014, mean catch rates in 2015 were marginally improved south of Fraser Island.

The NSW–QLD survey catch rate in 2015 was 20.541 crabs per ground-line, 33% above the target level of 13.972. This represented an increase in survey catch rates of about four crabs per groundline, compared to the 2014 survey.

The QLD spanner crab total allowable harvest (quota) was set at 1923 t in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 fishing years, 1777 t in 2014-15 and 1631 t in 2015-16. The results from the current analysis rules indicate that the quota for the next two fishing years be retained at the base quota of 1631 t.

Item Type:Monograph (Technical Report)
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Animal Science
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery research
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Shellfish fisheries
Live Archive:15 Mar 2016 22:37
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:44

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