Pro crabber calls for female harvest
QUEENSLAND'S stance as the only state which bans taking female mud crabs is locked into a past era when little was understood about the breeding habits of female muddies.
That is the opinion of Mark Grunske, a professional Gulf of Carpentaria crabber.
He said the harvesting of large and older females at the end of their breeding life would have little or no impact on their population.
Queensland Fisheries Minister John McVeigh disagrees and said the Government had no plans to change the rules governing the taking of Jenny mud crabs.
"From time to time the question of whether to allow the taking of female mud crabs is debated, but science and the majority of recreational commercial fishers don’t support this move," Mr McVeigh said.
Mr Grunske, a member of the State Government’s Mud and Blue Swimmer Crab Fishery Review working group, said Jenny crabs matured when they were 150mm across the carapace and at their first mating could produce nine million eggs.
Mr Grunske advocates taking a Jenny during her second moult, when she would be about 165mm across the carapace and already have released millions of eggs.
Mr Grunske said NSW and the Northern Territory had no bans on the taking of female mud crabs and were reaping a bonanza in sales.
He said female crabs were a prized commodity at the Sydney fish market and were worth more than 20 to 25 per cent than male crabs "every day of the week".
"There is roe in the top of the carapace which is what the Asian buyers are after. By taking these older female muddies we would be adding hundreds of millions of dollars to our crab fishery here in Queensland," he said.
Mr McVeigh said sustainability was a key issue and the overriding concern was that the harvesting of Jennys would harm breeding stocks.
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Gotcha: Gulf crabber Mark Grunske wants the Queensland Government to allow the taking of female mud crabs.