Project number: 2011-225
Project Status:
Completed
Budget expenditure: $65,620.00
Principal Investigator: Chris E. Calogeras
Organisation: C-AID Consultants
Project start/end date: 21 Sep 2011 - 31 Oct 2012
Contact:
FRDC

Need

Differing interpretations of grading standards for live mud crabs between fishers and buyers is highly emotive and greatly impacts industry revenue and relationships throughout the supply chain. Live mud crabs are the Sydney Fish Market’s second most valuable product and one of its most problematic, mainly due to grading issues. The urgent need for national grading standards is illustrated by the high level of confusion existing within all industry sectors.

This is compounded by the current environmental conditions that created an oversupply and low mud crab prices at market. Recent floods resulted in old crab with little meat content entering the market in higher than normal proportions, as well as an abundance of newly moulted ‘empty’ crab that are more susceptible to mortality within the supply chain and are lower priced. With newly adopted improved handling practices, harvesters are looking for new markets and experiencing various grading interpretations.

Lack of consumer confidence in purchasing a ‘full' crab impacts industry revenue. Having purchased a crab with poor meat content, consumers are unlikely to purchase again.

There is overwhelming Industry support to develop a universal, objective, agreed and workable standard. To achieve this national standards needs to be developed to ensure all harvesters, buyers and marketers agree on consistent grading standard for live mud crab. Many currently active industry members indicated they are unclear of grading parameters for live mud crab.

With the Qld crab-review in progress, the development of grading standards is timely and will assist the transition to any adjusted management regime.

As the catch of mud crab is a major component of the recreational fishery in many jurisdictions it is important to educate them on how to tell if a crab would be best returned to the water.

Objectives

1. To identify key industry representatives from the live mud crab supply chain across key states and territories to attend a forum
2. The forum to develop a universal, industry-driven, Australian grading standard for live mud crabs
3. Extend the agreed standard to all sectors
4. Evaluate adoption of standards
5. Production of professional media extension capturing outcomes from the workshop

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-9871427-2-6
Author: Chris Calogeras
Final Report • 5.10 MB
2011-225-DLD.pdf

Summary

This project lead to a large number of outcomes that provided significant benefit to the Australian live mud crab industry supply chain. These include:

  • Agreement on an easy to use, national, industry-driven, grading scheme for live mud crabs (the Australian Industry Live Mud Crab Grading Scheme) and the development of a range of material to extend the scheme widely
  • Industry ownership and support for the grading scheme has been evident, with many sectors, individuals and groups taking the scheme on board, including the Sydney Fish Market (SFM) adopting the Australian Live Mud Crab Grading Scheme as part of its grading guidelines.
  • Improved revenue return to the supply chain through a reduction in downgraded live mud crab, resulting in maximum price per unit.  Even though not formally adopted until December 2012, data indicates up to a $1.40/kg increase in value for properly graded product at the SFM since the forum.
  • Supply chain partners have indicated greater consumer satisfaction and less disagreement due to the development of the extension material and easy to use grading scheme.  With the formal launch of the scheme on 3rd December 2012, in conjunction with the SFM, the linking with key sector sites and groups, and all of the material going live, it is anticipated that as consumers become better informed in their decision making process when choosing mud crab, there will be elevated consumer confidence to buy premium quality, live mud crab, engendering more frequent purchases.
  • The linking of project 2010/302 and this project has seen far greater utilisation of Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) resources along the supply chain.  Six trips were undertaken jointly to meet with key people and groups along the supply chain (NT x 2, NSW x 2, Vic x 1, Qld x 1), and the linking of best handling and grading became intertwined.  In addition, when work on either project has taken place by the individual project teams, the opportunity to cross reference the projects has allowed the combined knowledge of the projects to be further extended.
  • The forum methodology, which focused on providing optimal input from industry, was extremely well supported and can serve as a template for future whole of supply chain meetings.
  • The benefits of using professional media/design personnel as part of capturing outcomes from the workshop and developing extension material proved very successful and resulted in production of high quality, client focussed, targeted material.

Keywords: Mud crab, grading scheme, quality, facilitation, extension, industry, supply chain.

Final Report • 1.52 MB
NT Code of Practice for the Mud Crab Fishery.pdf

Summary

The Northern Territory mud crab fishery is harvested and managed sustainably. In the interests of the stock, the industry and the wider community, the NT Mud Crab Licensee Committee fully supports continued management for the production of sustainable, quality Australian seafood.

In 2002 the NT mud crab fishery was assessed by the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage as being ecologically sustainable for export, under Australian Government guidelines based on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. In 2007 the mud crab fishery was reassessed under the guidelines and accepted for further export approval.

Final Report • 116.77 KB
Fact Sheet for Recovery Procedure.pdf

Summary

The Queensland Government has developed best practice guidelines for the handling and storage of live mud crabs from harvest to table. These guidelines were developed as a way to reduce the stress levels of muddies, decrease mortality after harvest and to increase the eating quality of the catch. 

This fact sheet provides information on a recovery step for live mud crabs. Mud crabs stored for more than five days are more likely to die. If they survive, these crabs are liable to be poor eating quality.  A recovery step can reduce mortalities and loss of quality by eliminating the crabs waste and toxins. 

Final Report • 118.69 KB
Fact Sheet for Harvesters.pdf

Summary

The Queensland Government has developed best practice guidelines for the handling and storage of mud crabs from harvest to table. These guidelines were developed as a way to reduce the stress levels of muddies, decrease mortality after harvest and to increase the eating quality of the catch. 

This fact sheet provides key information on the handling, sorting and storage of live mud crabs for harvesters before transport. 

Final Report • 339.73 KB
Fact Sheet for Consumers.pdf

Summary

The Queensland Government has developed best practice guidelines for the handling and storage of mud crabs from harvest to table. These guidelines were developed as a way to reduce the stress levels of muddies, decrease mortality after harvest and to increase the eating quality of the catch. 

This fact sheet provides information for consumers on choosing a live mud crab, preparing and cooking it for the table.

Final Report • 181.99 KB
Fact Sheet for Meat Fullness.pdf

Summary

The Queensland Government, in conjunction with the National Mud Crab Industry Reference Group has developed guidelines for grading live mud crabs based on shell hardness and other signs of shell age. However, to provide greater certainty on whether the crab will be full of meat when cooked, a simple method of sampling the live mud crab’s blood can be used.

This fact sheet gives instructions on how to test a live crab’s blood for cooked meat yield.

Final Report • 1.01 MB
Guide to Using the Australian Industry Live Mud Crab Grading Scheme.pdf

Summary

This booklet provides a step by step guide to assist you in making decisions about how to grade your live mud crabs in line with the Australian Industry Live Mud Crab Grading Scheme. It is designed to accompany and assist you when using the grading scheme flow chart.

The scheme was developed under a Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) project (2011-225) which brought together industry representatives from throughout the supply chain and across Australia.  This group, the National Mud Crab Industry Reference Group (NMCIRG), developed these industry-driven, objective and mutually-agreed Australian minimum standards for a national grading scheme for live mud crabs to provide a consistent grading process across the nation and supply chain.

Final Report • 115.21 KB
Fact Sheet for Transport Recommendations.pdf

Summary

The Queensland Government has developed best practice guidelines for the handling and storage of mud crabs from harvest to table. These guidelines were developed as a way to reduce the stress levels of muddies, decrease mortality after harvest and to increase the eating quality of the catch. 

This fact sheet provides key information on packing and transporting live mud crabs to wholesalers, distributors and retailers.

Final Report • 300.10 KB
Fact Sheet for Retailers.pdf

Summary

The Queensland Government with funding assistance from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation has developed best practice guidelines for the handling and storage of mud crabs, from harvest to table. These guidelines aim to help reduce the stress levels of crabs, decrease mortality after harvest and increase eating quality.

This fact sheet provides information on sorting and storage of live mud crab for retailers.

Final Report • 85.46 KB
Fact Sheet For Tanking Recommendations.pdf

Summary

The Queensland Government has developed best practice guidelines for the handling and storage of mud crabs from harvest to table. These guidelines were developed as a way to reduce the stress levels of muddies, decrease mortality after harvest and to increase the eating quality of the catch. 

This fact sheet provides key information on holding live mud crabs in aquariums or tanks. 

Final Report • 4.55 MB
Live Mud Crab Grading Scheme - Web.pdf

Summary

With the support of FRDC a forum was held to develop a national system to ensure catchers, buyers and marketers had a consistent, workable grading system for the entire industry - from trap to plate. The forum, "Using Industry Expertise to Build a National System for Grading of Live Mud Crabs" brought together people from throughout the supply chain and from across Australia to develop this industry-driven, objective and mutually-agreed Australian minimum standards for a national grading system for live mud crabs.

The decision chart developed by the group provides all people throughout the supply chain with an easy to use guide to the Australian Grading Scheme for live mud crabs.

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