Spanner Crab

Latin name: Ranina ranina

Common names: Crab, Crabs

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Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • Spanner crab stocks are considered healthy in QLD.
  • Spanner crabs are caught in pots, which have minimal impacts on marine habitats.
  • Threatened species interactions are minimal and bycatch of other species is low.

Cooking & Recipes


Spanner crabs have fine, sweet meat well suited to tossing through pasta or making seafood cocktails, salads, or sandwiches. 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 meat pulls away from the shell with ease.

More information

  • QLD Spanner Crab Fishery (1,275t 2011)

Spanner crab populations are considered healthy in QLD. Stock status is monitored by assessment of the size of crabs caught and the rate at which they’re caught. Fisheries records show that the size and rate of spanner crabs caught has been stable for over a decade, indicating there are no sustainability concerns over stock status.

Spanner crabs are caught using pots, which have minimal impacts on ocean habitats. Crab pots are lowered to the seafloor and rest in place until they are lifted up for harvest.

Crab pots are a targeted method of fishing that results in low bycatch and minimal interactions with threatened species. Most of the bycatch is undersized crabs, other invertebrates and fish, which can be released alive.