Conservation Measures

Between 60 and 80% of all pot caught Irish brown crab are returned alive to the sea.

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Irish brown crab are a non-quota species and can be fished legally by any vessel holding a Polyvalent Licence or a Potting Licence. There is a legal minimum landing size of 130mm or 140mm depending on the location the vessel is fishing in. This is a management measure that is primarily intended to ensure future recruitment to stocks by allowing a proportion of individuals within the stock to reach sexual maturity and breed before being harvested.

Brown crab are approximately 5 years old when they reach the minimum landing size. Vessels targeting brown crab for the live market tend to retain only larger crab based on market preferences. The live returns also contribute to the conservation of the species.

Effort restrictions

Effort restrictions are in place which fixes a maximum annual fishing effort for certain fishing areas and fisheries.  In these areas, vessels are limited to a certain number of days fishing each year.

Landing restrictions

There are also landing restrictions regarding Irish brown crab being clawed at sea. Vessels potting for brown crab can only land 1% of their catch as crab claws, and for other gears, it is a maximum of 75kg of their total catch.