Rockhampton fishermen were shocked to find more than 20 tied mud crabs dead beside the Port Alma boat ramp.
Rockhampton fishermen were shocked to find more than 20 tied mud crabs dead beside the Port Alma boat ramp. Contributed

Crab catch dumping shocks

AS Rockhampton fishermen Jonathan and Danny Mylrea approached the Port Alma boat ramp after a day of fishing, they were confronted with a shocking sight.

More than 20 legal-size, male mud crabs had been tied and dumped on Saturday right beside the boat ramp, south of Rockhampton, which left the keen anglers outraged.

Danny, who has fished at Port Alma for many years, said he had never seen such a thing.

"Seeing that many crabs right next to the boat ramp dead, all the correct size and males, it makes your blood boil, and they were out there for everyone to see," the 52-year-old said.

"All my time fishing here I've never seen this and, I think it's just very bad management of looking after your catch. It's a waste."

Commercial fishermen have no limit on how many mud crabs they catch, however, amateurs are restricted to 10 a person.

Rockhampton commercial fisherman and crabber Dave Swindells said a mud crab was now worth $30 each, and it would definitely not be a professional who did this.

"That's $600 worth of crab, and professionals don't have a limit, so I would say someone's got cold feet and thought they were going to get caught and dumped them," he said.

"And it's not hard to keep a crab alive; we can keep them for up to seven days so it definitely wasn't a professional."

The Morning Bulletin fishing columnist Scott Lynch said judging by what had been described there were a few possible reasons for the dumping.

"What it sounds like is they thought they were going to be caught by the fisheries, had too many and threw them out," he said.

"Or they didn't look after them properly and they've died, because no one throws away that many crabs.

"We had an incident like that a couple of years back at the Rosslyn Bay Harbour, where a whole heap were dumped right at the ramp, and it coincided with the day the fisheries were checking boats as they came up the ramp."

Local recreational fisherman Kim Martin said it was unfortunate to hear about the incident, but that "it does happen".

"You can only speculate as to what happened, but it's very negligent,'' Mr Martin said.

The State Government's DEEDI Department which includes fisheries was not able to comment after being contacted late in the afternoon.

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