Blue Swimmer Crab

Latin name: Portunus armatus

Common names: Crab, Crabs

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Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • Stocks of blue swimmer crabs in SA, which has the largest fishery for the species in Australia are healthy.
  • Stocks have recovered as a result of effective management supporting the recovery of populations that were previously in decline.
  • Blue swimmer crabs are mainly caught in pots, with minimal habitat impacts and bycatch.

Cooking & Recipes


Crabs can be purchased whole (cooked or raw) or as picked and frozen meat. To cook whole crabs, crack any large legs or claws with the back of a knife and then steam, boil or stir-fry. If cooking whole, weigh your crab and cook for 1 minute for every 100g, adding 2 minutes to the total (e.g. 550g + 2 = 7.5 minutes). Alternatively, crabs can be broken into equal sized pieces and dropped into a soup, stew or curry. Crabs are cooked when the shell goes a vivid orange or red colour and the meat pulls away from the shell with ease. Cooked and picked crabmeat can be tossed through a simple pasta or noodle dish, or used for a seafood cocktail, salad or sandwich.

More information

  • SA Blue Crab Fishery (656t in 2015-16)

Blue swimmer crabs are caught in shallow water fisheries managed by different states. In SA, which has the largest take of blue swimmer crab in Australia, annual stock assessments and other information from the fishery indicates that the three main fished stocks are healthy. The fishery has shown improvements in the health of blue swimmer crab populations due to the introduction of management measures that have allowed previously declining stocks to rebuild.

Blue swimmer crabs are mainly caught using crab pots or traps set over sandy or seagrass habitats. These pots are lowered to the seafloor and rest in place until they are lifted up for harvest, with little impact on habitat.

The equipment used is effective at targeting blue swimmer crabs, resulting in little else being caught, and if caught can be released alive. Neither fishery has reported significant interactions with endangered wildlife.