During winter the Spider Crab population migrate to the shallow water locations in the south of Port Phillip Bay, often seen at Blairgowrie and Rye piers.

It is here that they moult in large numbers, giving coastal users an insight into the world of the exceptional Spider Crab and an opportunity to witness this unique event.

With the annual aggregation event about to happen, we are urgently calling on the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) and Minister to implement a 'no take' season over the months April-July to protect the crabs and this unique occurrence.

In the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed hundreds of people congregating on Rye pier to lower crab nets and catch countless numbers of crabs. The chicken carcasses and other food sources used to attract the crabs has resulted in pollution in the water and on the foreshore, while nets damage the sensitive marine environment under the pier. This takes away from the enjoyment of all other user groups who want to witness this wonderful phenomenon.

As a major stakeholder in the management of the Rye foreshore, we echo community concerns about the crabs and urge the Victorian government to protect them. Community groups that we are working with include:

Photo credit: Bryce Nichol

The Shire has previously written to the State Government and the VFA to share significant concerns raised by the community regarding the increased level of human interference in the annual spider crab moulting event around Rye and Blairgowrie.

We urgently call on the Victorian Fisheries Authority and the Honourable Minister Melissa Horne to implement a seasonal ban to protect overfishing.

Mornington Peninsula Shire letters:

When Sir David Attenborough flew halfway around the world to document this amazing natural phenomenon as part of his Blue Planet television series, he recognised the importance of documenting and celebrating this wonderful event. In this spirit, we want to protect the crabs so people can witness the wonders of nature, not harm the crab population and risk the future of this species and the local ecosystem.

The Victorian Marine and Coastal Council (VMaCC) has produced a literature review on Natural invertebrate aggregations in coastal and marine environments: tools used to manage populations and benefits derived from management. VMaCC is the state's peak advisory body on marine and coastal issues.

Museum Victoria have further information and videos about the Spider Crabs (Leptomithrax gaimardii).

Parks Victoria are responsible for Port Philip Bay waters and have information about the Spider Crabs and marine environment of the Bay.

Victorian Fisheries Authority are responsible for managing the catch limits and fisheries, including the Spider Crabs.

If you plan to visit the aggregation, follow the tips on the Parks Victoria website for observing the Spider Crabs.

Add your voice to the call to protect the Spider Crabs:

  • Join us in writing letters and or emails to the Victorian Fisheries Authority and the Honourable Minister Melissa Horne to implement a seasonal ban (from April to July) to protect overfishing of the Spider Crab. NB: Please BCC: coastalplanning@mornpen.vic.gov.au (so we can capture how many people are taking action)
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