THE QUEENSLAND SPANNER CRAB FISHERY
Queensland, the state covering the entire North Eastern corner of Australia, is home to a staggering range of plant and animal life, including the largest living thing on earth – The Great Barrier Reef. Just 100 kilometers South of the reef is Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island and home to Fraser Isle Spanner Crab.
The Queensland Spanner Crab Fishery is a single target species fishery, harvesting spanner crabs using dillies or flat crab pots, a technique which results in no bycatch (apart from a few starfish or shellfish which are returned to sea unharmed).
The Queensland Spanner Crab fishery was the first fishery to be certified as sustainable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999. The EPBC Act is in Australia’s central piece of environmental legislation, providing a legal framework for the protection and management of internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places.
The fishery operates 11 months of the year, from 20 December to 20 November, with an annual spawning season closure to ensure a healthy birth rate the following year. The fishery was the first in the state of Queensland to introduce a quota system to combat overfishing. In order to catch spanner crab commercially in Queensland both the boat and skipper must be licensed, and all crab caught must come off a quota which is either owned or leased.
Everyone involved in The Queensland Spanner Crab Fishery is invested in the continued protection of the marine environment, and the fishery is committed to maintaining the excellence of the product and the health of the waters it comes from.