Did you know that lifting another person's crab pot can attract a $1000 on-the-spot fine? Do you also know the correct way to label your crab pots?
If you answered no to these questions, then the New Year could be an ideal time for you to brush up on crabbing rules.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) district officer Matt Davidson said there were some main crabbing topics that required urgent attention from recreational fishers.
'Fishers are reminded that the legal limit is four crab pots per person, with a bag limit of 10 mud crabs per person,' he said.
'There are fines between $1000 and $50 000 if people are found checking or removing other people’s pots.
'Correct marking of crab pots aids in the detection of this offence.'
Mr Davidson said a positive crabbing experience started with crab pots being correctly labelled.
'For crab pots with floats, the surname of the owner should be clearly marked on the float, and the surname and address of the owner should be clearly marked on the pot,' he said.
'For tied-off pots, fishers are required to clearly mark their surname and address on the pot, and their surname on a tag attached to the apparatus, which should be visible above the waterline.
'For pots with floats, a light-coloured float measuring 15 centimetres in every direction is required, on which details can be permanently marked with a soldering iron.
'For pots, stamped aluminium tags are recommended so the details won’t disappear.
'It’s important people understand that there are penalties for insufficiently marked crab pots, including confiscation and Fisheries Infringement Notices of up to $500.'
Mr Davidson said a recent survey which collected feedback from more than 400 recreational fishers around the state, helped to determine that female mud crabs would remain a ‘no-take or possession’ species in Queensland.
'Female mud crabs are a protected species and must not be taken from Queensland waters,' he said.
'Commercial fishers also need to abide by this rule.
'It’s easy to tell the difference between the two: a male mud crab has a V-shaped flap on the bottom of its shell, while a female mud crab has a more rounded flap on the bottom of its shell.
'The size of a mud crab must be decided by measuring the widest part of its carapace, irrespective of damage to the carapace.
'If recreational fishers stick to the rules, then they will not only be avoiding possible fines, but will also be contributing to a sustainable crab fishery for future generations.'
To learn how to correctly identify and measure mud crabs, view the YouTube video on crab rules in Queensland at www.youtube.com/fisheriesqld
Catch the latest fishing rules at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au
or call 13 25 23.
Latest fisheries information is also available via Twitter – www.twitter.com/fisheriesQLD
or find us on Facebook under Fisheries Queensland.