Check crabbing rules to avoid getting nipped by a fine

RECREATIONAL crabbers have been reminded to ensure they're aware of current crabbing rules, including size and possession limits, as well as crab pot regulations before hitting the water.

Fisheries Queensland district officer Mathew Davidson said it was important for crabbers to be aware of the crabbing limits and other legal requirements to save being nipped with a possible fine.

"Crabbers should remember that there are different size and possession limits as well as measuring methods for the various crab species," he said.

"For example, female mud and blue swimmer crabs are no-take species and should be returned to the water immediately.

"It is also illegal to possess crabs with the carapace missing and crab meat while at sea unless it is for immediate consumption."

Mr Davidson said crabbers should check their gear before hitting the water to ensure their equipment complied with legal requirements.

"In tidal waters, no more than four crab pots or dillies, or a combination of both, are permitted to be used by a person at any time," he said.

"They need to be clearly marked with the owner's name and address and if using a float, it must also have the owner's name on it.

"All crab apparatus if not secured to a fixed object must have a light-coloured surface float attached.

"The float must not be less than 15cm in any dimension.

"Crab pots should be set below the low tide mark line and be in deep enough water so that marine animals are not exposed to the sun at any time.

"It is an offence if the apparatus contains fish and is out of the water.

"Also, crabbers should ensure their pots have enough rope attached to the float so they are not lost in strong tidal currents.

"Interfering with gear you didn't set is a serious offence which carries on-the-spot fines of $1138 or maximum penalties up to $55,000.

"Stealing crabs or crab pots is a criminal offence, so those caught will be referred to the police."

If you suspect illegal crabbing, whether seen in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.

Don't engage the person, as this can compromise an investigation.

For more information on responsible crabbing, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, phone 132 523 or download the free Qld Fishing app.