European Shore Crab

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European shore crab

To help prevent the spread of this invasive crab, Victoria has new regulations:

  • Recreational anglers must not use European green shore crabs as live bait or return live unused crabs to the water
  • European green shore crabs can now be taken in unlimited numbers everywhere other than the intertidal zone of Port Phillip Bay.


Key features:

  • 5 spines on each side of eyes
  • Last pair of legs sharp & slightly flattened at tips - no swimming paddles
  • Smooth green/brown shell with pale orange underside
  • Shell up to 7 cm wide

Distribution, habitat & impacts

In Victoria, European green shore crabs have been found in Gippsland, Port Phillip Bay and west to Apollo Bay. It is most often seen in the intertidal zone (mud and rocks) and subtidally amongst seagrass.

The European green shore crab is an invasive species which competes with, and predates upon, native species.

Don't confuse your crabs

There are several species of native crab that could be confused with European green shore crab.

The current daily catch limit of 30 crabs or 1 litre still applies to all native crabs including those identified below.

All species of crabs, including European green shore crab, must not be taken from the intertidal zone of Port Phillip Bay.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) have lead responsibility for managing aquatic pests in Victoria. The Department of Primary Industries, through Fisheries Victoria, supports DSE where recreational or commercial fisheries may be affected.

Sand crab

Sand crab (Ovalipes australiensis)


  • Purple spot towards rear
  • Swimming paddles on last set of legs
  • Pale grey shell, up to 10 cm wide

Red shore crab

Red shore crab (Plagusia chabrus)

Also known as Red bait crab or Red rock crab


  • Distinctive dark red/brown
  • Pale lines on walking legs
  • Dense coat of short hairs on legs
  • Shell up to 7 cm wide

Paragrapsus species

Paragrapsus species


  • 3 spines on each side of eyes
  • First walking legs have felt patch on inner side
  • Yellow/brown shell with dark red spots
  • Shell up to 4.5 cm wide