Blue Swimmer Crabs
VARIETIES | BLUE SWIMMER CRABS
WA’s most popular recreational catch
Blue swimmer crabs are Western Australia’s most popular recreationally caught species so it’s no surprise they are popular in the retail outlets and restaurants as well.
Don Hancey’s Cooking Tip
Growing up in Bunbury with a recreational fisher dad, we were blessed with being able to go “crabbing” – be it wading and scooping in Leschenault Estuary, or pulling crab nets off the long gone Bunbury wooden jetty. Along with my brother, we chopped kindling for dad’s copper and waited for the salted water to boil before cooking the blue mannas, as they were called in those days. Putting the crabs in the fridge before cooking is a good way to put them to sleep. Pickled crab in a creamy pasta is heaven, as is pickled crab in a Vietnamese style zesty salad – think hints of chilli, Thai basil, lemon juice and olive oil.
The fishing season for blue swimmer crabs runs from December to end of August. Mandurah’s famous Crabfest is a well-established event, celebrating this wonderful species of WA seafood.
A range of fisheries are scattered up the coast of Western Australia, however the coast off Mandurah (from Fremantle to Bunbury) is a particularly well-known source of blue swimmer crabs. Other areas include Swan River, Shark Bay and Denmark. Also, the coastal embayments and estuaries between Geographe Bay in the south west and Port Hedland in the north is a well-fished area for blue swimmer crabs.