Project number: 2010-302
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $182,913.00
Principal Investigator: Sue Poole
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 2 May 2010 - 17 Jan 2012


The mud crab resource in northern Australia is highly valuable but limited in size. This dictates a need to improve economic return to all sectors along the supply chain, including the harvesters. Critical aspects of the value-chain are:
• the fishery takes place in remote locations often with little or no infrastructure
• distribution chains are varied and often very long, with unexpected delays
• crabs reach market sale-point in varying condition
• sole dependence is for supply of live product
• market price is largely driven by SFM were crab liveliness is a key price setting criteria
• acknowledged insufficient information of handling live crab by end-chain stakeholders
• current handling knowledge varies greatly between operators and is self taught by trial and error
• Industry personnel are of various nationalities and English is often not their first language.

The recently completed FRDC project delivered recommendations for best practice protocols to achieve premium quality mud crab. Only those few stakeholders directly involved in the project currently have access to that knowledge. From the limited implementation of the research findings, industry has reported an impressive 50% reduction in mud crab mortality rates. If extended, this would equate to a revenue gain within the mud crab industry of >M$2 per annum.

To achieve maximum value-addition to the mud crab resource, there is a strong need to extend and support awareness of best practice along the entire supply chain. Specific handling procedures need to be targeted to the different sectors and communication with each sector to be delivered in various appropriate formats.

Ensured premium quality mud crabs available to the consumer and increased revenue by >10% to the industry can only be realised if best practice is correctly adopted throughout the entire supply chain. This proposal is designed to achieve that aim.


1. Develop targeted information packages specific for different supply chain sectors acknowledging the various demographics involved.
2. Communicate the specific information in the most relevant format for each sector.
3. Demonstrate and guide industry implementation of best practice protocols.
4. Achieve maximum adoption of best practice protocols throughout mud crab supply chains.
5. Assess impact gained for industry.

Related research


Developing a Kimberley Aboriginal Mud Crab Fishery

1. Determine the biology and distribution of mud crab species (Scylla serrata and S. olivacea) in King Sound and Cambridge Gulf areas of the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA

Assessment of the interactive effects of climate change, floods and discard stress on the commercially important Mud Crab (Scylla serrata) and Blue Swimmer Crab (Portunus armatus) - postgraduate

1. Provide the opportunity for a post-graduate research student to work with industry and managers, gain exposure to stakeholder’s perspectives on the issue and undertake high-quality research that results in the production of scientific outputs.
Southern Cross University (SCU) National Marine Science Centre