Eastern rock lobsters, spanner crabs and mud crabs command a high price when supplied to the market as live product
Budget expenditure: $158,459.00
Project Status:
Principal Investigator: Sue Poole
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 10 Sep 2017 - 25 Sep 2019
Spanner Crab
Eastern Rock Lobster
Mud Crabs


Industry producers and processors have identified that crabs and lobsters suffer quality deterioration
during transportation, which then results in downgrading and consequent price reduction. As lobsters and crabs are highly sought products, losses incurred through current handling chains cause significant waste of this valuable resource. In NSW eastern rock lobster, mud crab and spanner crab resources are fully fished and hence, full revenue return can only be gained by mitigating the wastage occurring.

It is known that quality loss in crustaceans is often caused by stress imposed along the supply chain. To reduce the likelihood of downgrading of product, there is a need to undertake an examination of the handling and transport issues pertinent to various landing ports, distribution chains and market sales points. Identification of specific stress factors and where they occur most severely will enable development of specific mitigation measures for Industry implementation.

The need for the research was noted in the NSW FRAC research priorities, 2016.


1. Document current handling practices and transport pathways within the three crustacean industries and identify the factors contributing most to animal stress
2. Develop adapted handling and transport protocols that minimise the critical stress factors
3. Trial amended protocols within commercial operations
4. Evaluate success by change in number of downgrades and market price achieved for live product
5. Extend knowledge to industry sectors and encourage adoption by demonstration of protocols at local port meetings.

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