Spider giant crab management, education and science initiatives

The VFA has been working with the land managers of Rye and Blairgowrie piers and surrounding coast, as well as recreational fishers and other research agencies, on a range of giant spider crab education, management and science initiatives.

These initiatives will support shared enjoyment of the giant spider aggregation at Rye and Blairgowrie piers – if an aggregation settles there again this year - by recreational fishers, divers and other community members.

Some are plans in place, ready to be implemented if and when a crab aggregation settles at the piers this year. Others are more strategically focused to guide future adaptive management and education. Plans include:

  • Signage for key access and transit points, informed and approved by land managers, including information regarding the revised daily bag limit has now been reduced from 30 to 15 spider crabs per person per day.
  • Fisheries Officer patrols to provide education and compliance on-site.
  • Engaging multicultural specialists on radio and social media education campaigns and bilingual brochures on enjoying responsible spider crab fishing.
  • Working with VRFish and the Victoria Chinese Angling Association to plan recreational fisher-led engagement on enjoying responsible spider crab fishing, including video clips.
  • Liaising with pier managers on planning for shared access and space.
  • Supporting responsible litter and bait disposal:
    • On signs and education campaign;
    • Trialling bins on piers during crab aggregations;
    • Litter collection contingency if required.
  • Accessible information for stakeholders:
    • Signage designed for all audiences
    • Bilingual brochures available at destination
    • English and Chinese language web pages and recreational fishing guide
  • Continued spider crab research
    • Spider crab satellite tagging report now available on VFA’s website
    • New scientific surveys planned to estimate giant spider crab recreational catch & abundance in southern Port Phillip Bay
    • New genetic research on stock structure and population connectively planned to commence in 2021, in an FRDC funded partnership with Deakin University.