Champagne Crab (2020)

Hypothalassia acerba

  • Jason How (Government of Western Australia, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development)

Date Published: June 2021

Toggle content


The WA jurisdictional stock of Champagne Crab is classified as sustainable.

Photo: Jason How, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia

Toggle content

Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Western Australia Sustainable

Catch MSY

Toggle content

Stock Structure

There is little information on the stock structure of Champagne Crab. Populations on the west and south coast of Western Australia differ in their reproductive characteristics, which may be suggestive of some degree of separation [Smith et al2004a]. An FRDC project has commenced examining the genetic stock structure of Champagne Crab from the two coasts. Here the assessment is presented at the jurisdictional level—Western Australia.

Toggle content

Stock Status

Western Australia

The current assessment of Champagne Crabs is primarily based on estimates of biomass and fishing mortality from a data-limited Catch-MSY assessment model based on commercial catches from Western Australia, compared periodically to reference levels relating to estimates of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). The point estimate for relative stock biomass in 2019 was high at 0.89 of the unfished level (95 per cent CLs = 0.59–0.97). As the current value of this performance indicator is above the threshold (0.5), the above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

Increased catches of Champagne Crab in 2018–2019 resulted from targeted fishing by fishers who sought to develop a market for champagne crabs. Market development and capacity to access champagne crabs resulted in the subsequent decline in catch. Industry is still actively pursuing market development for this species. The estimated fishing mortality experienced by the stock in 2019 was 0.02 year-1, with the 95 per cent CLs ranging from 0.01–0.03 year-1. The upper 95 per cent CL of this performance indicator is well below the level of FMSY (0.18 year-1). Additional protection for the breeding stock is conferred by measures including a prohibition on taking berried females, and a minimum legal size that is larger than the size at which both males and females become mature. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired. 

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Champagne Crab in Western Australia is classified as a sustainable stock.  


Toggle content


Champagne Crab biology [Smith et al. 2004 ab].

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Champagne Crab

138 mm CL

69.7 mm (♀); 68.1 mm (♂)

Toggle content


Distribution of reported commercial catch of champagne crab.

Toggle content


Fishing methods
Western Australia
Traps and Pots
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Boat limits
Egg bearing females protected
Limited entry
Size limit
Temporal closures
Western Australia
Commercial 3.52t
Toggle content

Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Champagne Crab.

Toggle content


  1. Potential bias in estimates of the size of maturity of crabs derived from trap samples. ICES J Mar Sci 61:906-912.
  2. Relative abundances and size composition of champagne crabs, Hypothalassia acerba, on two coasts and in different water depths and seasons. Mar Freshw Res 55:653-661.

Downloadable reports

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