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Giant Crab (2018)

Pseudocarcinus gigas

  • Klaas Hartmann (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • David Reilly (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Jason How (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Lachlan McLeay (South Australian Research and Development Institute)

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

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Summary

Giant Crab occurs from WA to TAS but it is considered a single biological stock. Nevertheless, stocks are classified separately for the four states. Stock is sustainable in WA, SA and VIC, and depleted in TAS.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Tasmania Giant Crab Fishery (Tasmania) GCF Depleted Percentage of egg production relative to unfished level, CPUE
GCF
Giant Crab Fishery (TAS)
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Stock Structure

Giant Crab is considered to be a single biological stock from Western Australia to Tasmania because the species occurs is continuously distributed across this range. Planktonic larval duration is around 50 days, with larval release occurring along the edge of the continental shelf. The shelf is a high current area, facilitating dispersal, and oceanographic modeling has indicated that Giant Crab dispersal occurs over large spatial scales [Gardner 1998, Gardner and Quintana 1998, Williams et. al. 2009].

Previous Status of Australian Fish Stocks reports on Giant Crab provided an overall assessment for this assumed biological stock. However, there have been significant changes in the relative performance of the various fisheries operating across this stock since 2014. New information indicates that Giant Crab are now considered to be depleted in Tasmania but sustainable in Western Australia. It is difficult to reconcile these differences in regional depletion levels under an assumption of a single stock. But management arrangements also vary across jurisdictions and the fishing fleets in each jurisdiction consist of vessels with different characteristics, resulting in different patterns of exploitation.

Assessment of stock status is presented here at the jurisdictional levelWestern Australia and South Australia; and the management unit levelGiant Crab Fishery (Victoria) and Giant Crab Fishery (Tasmania).

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Stock Status

Giant Crab Fishery (Tasmania)

A length-based model has been developed to estimate annual levels of Giant Crab biomass and egg production. The model includes catch and effort data from commercial fisheries [Gardner et. al. 2007]. This model was used to develop the current sex-specific size limits (carapace length of 140 mm for males and 150 mm for females to afford protection to mature female crabs, which are also protected whilst berried and through female spawning closures. Despite these measures, egg production has decreased to an estimated 14 per cent of unfished levels in 2013–14 [Emery et. al. 2018]. This level of egg production is considered to be inadequate relative to benchmarks in most crustacean fisheries [Fogarty and Gendron 2004]. Since the 2013–14 assessment the model has not been updated due to a lack of data, and analyses have focused instead on CPUE trends. CPUE has decreased almost continually since the inception of the Tasmanian fishery. Due to its slow growth and longevity, Giant Crab is particularly susceptible to becoming recruitment overfished. The above evidence indicates that the stock is likely to be depleted.

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Biology

Giant Crab biology [Gardner 1998, McGarvey et. al. 1999, Williams et. al. 2009,]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Giant Crab ≥ 30 years, > 200 mm CL , ~10 kg 125–140 mm CL, depending on region
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Giant Crab
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Tables

Fishing methods
Tasmania
Commercial
Unspecified
Traps and Pots
Indigenous
Giant Crab Trap
Recreational
Giant Crab Trap
Management methods
Method Tasmania
Commercial
Limited entry
Quota
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Indigenous
Possession limit
Size limit
Temporal closures
Recreational
Possession limit
Size limit
Temporal closures
Catch
Tasmania
Commercial 30.61t in GCF
Indigenous Negligible
Recreational Negligible
GCF
Giant Crab Fishery (TAS)

South Australian data are from quota holders in the 2016–17 fishing season (October 2016–May 2017), Victorian data are for the 2016–17 fishing season (November 2016–September 2017), Tasmanian data are for the 2017-18 fishing season (March 2017 – February 2018) and South Coast Deep Sea Crustacean Fishery (Western Australia) data are for the 2016–17 financial year. Victoria – Indigenous (management methods) In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing may not apply to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Victorian traditional owners may have rights under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 to hunt, fish, gather and conduct other cultural activities for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs without the need to obtain a licence. Traditional Owners that have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) may also be authorised to fish without the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence. Outside of these arrangements, Indigenous Victorians can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise fishing for specific Indigenous cultural ceremonies or events (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). There were no Indigenous permits granted in 2017 and hence no Indigenous catch recorded.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Giant Crab - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Emery, T, Hartmann K and Gardner C, 2015, Giant Crab stock assessment report 2013/14, IMAS, Hobart.
  2. Fisheries Victoria 2010, Giant Crab Management Plan, Second Edition, ISBN 978-1-74264-478-3.
  3. Fogarty, MJ and Gendron, L 2004, Biological reference points for American lobster (Homarus americanus) populations: limits to exploitation and the precautionary approach, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 61(8): 1392–1403.
  4. Gardner, C 1998, First record of larvae of the Giant Crab Pseudocarcinus gigas in the plankton, Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 132: 47–48.
  5. Gardner, C and Quintana R 1998, Larval development of the Australian Giant Crab Pseudocarcinus gigas (Lamarck, 1818) (Decapoda: Oziidae) reared in the laboratory, Journal of Plankton Research, 20(6): 1169–1188.
  6. Gardner, C, Haddon, M, Hobday,D and McGarvey R 2007, Development of the tools for long term management of the Giant Crab resource: data collection methodology, stock assessment and harvest strategy evaluation, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  7. McGarvey, R, Matthews, JM and Levings, AH 1999, Yield-, value-, and egg-per-recruit of Giant Crab, Pseudocarcinus gigas, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Adelaide.
  8. McLeay, L 2018, Stock status report for the South Australian South Australian Giant Crab (Pseudocarcinus gigas) Fishery 2016/17. Fishery Status Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2011/000332-7. SARDI Research Report Series No. 976.
  9. PIRSA 2018, Management Policy for Commercial Fishing of Giant Crabs in South Australia. Primary Industries and Regions South Australia. Adelaide, Australia.
  10. Victorian Giant Crab Fishery Stock Assessment Report: 2015/16 Fishing Season.
  11. Williams, A, Gardner, C, Althaus, F, Barker, B and Mills D 2009, Understanding shelf-break habitat for sustainable management of fisheries with spatial overlap, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2004/066, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart.

Archived reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.