Fisheries Infosite

Fishery - Deepwater crabs


Red crab, giant spider crab and two species of king crab are collectively known as deepwater crabs. Deepwater crabs were introduced into the QMS in 2004. Deepwater crabs can be found at varying depths down to 1500m.

Commercial harvest of deepwater crabs was generally limited to bycatch in other trawl fisheries, until exploratory fishing began in 2007 to determine the feasibility of a targeted deepwater crab potting fishery. When these crabs are caught in pots there is potential to market them as 'high value species’ to countries such as Europe, Asia and the USA where there are already established markets for other deepwater crab species. Crabs caught in pots are landed in good condition, compared to those caught in trawl fisheries. Pot caught crabs can therefore be exported alive and can attract high values on the overseas markets.

Giant Spider Crab (GSC)Deepwater crab quota owners have organised themselves into a collaborative group, CrabCo, which is overseeing the development of these target fisheries. CrabCo is developing a science-based harvesting plan for deepwater crabs which will form the basis of the deepwater crab fishery plan.