Invasive crab species found in SA waters

A male Asian Paddle Crab has been found in SA waters - the invasive species can be toxic to humans.
A male Asian Paddle Crab has been found in SA waters - the invasive species can be toxic to humans.

An invasive species of crab has been found in South Australian waters which can be toxic if eaten by humans.

A male Asian Paddle Crab was discovered by a commercial Blue Swimmer Crab fisher, which should be of concern for recreational and professional fishers.

State MInister for for Primary Industries, Tim Whetstone, said the introduced species could threaten local seafood industries.

"The Asian Paddle Crab is an aggressive, exotic crab that could spread diseases to our local prawns, crabs an lobsters and outcompete native species like our prized Blue Swimmer Crab," Mr Whetstone said.

"We are asking all fishers - commercial, recreational and charter - who are out on the water to keep an eye out for this unwelcome species.

"I commend the commercial blue crab fisher who reported the Asian Paddle Crab to PIRSA immediately.

"This is just one example of the important conservation role our commercial fishers play, as our stewards of the seas."

Mr Whetstone said the crab was most likely to have entered SA waters on on a vessel, such as in an anchor locker, bilge, sea chest or internal seawater system.

The State Government was working with fishing groups and shops to make fishers aware of the species, which is native to central and eastern Asia (China, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand), and has become established in New Zealand.

"We do not want the Asian Paddle Crab to establish in South Australia - if fishers see any unusual species, please report them immediately," Mr Whetstone said.

The Asian Paddle Crab - what to look out for:

  • it can grow up to 120mm wide, which is smaller than the Blue Swimmer Crab
  • found in a number of colours - pale, olive green, brown, purple
  • sharp spines between its eyes
  • six spines down each side of the shell.

Any sightings of a suspected Asian Paddle Crab must be reported to Fishwatch on 1800 065 522 or email