How to tell if your crab is full of meat or mud

An empty mud crab.
An empty mud crab. DAFF

OPENING up a crab to find it empty of meat is disappointing, not to mention a waste of a good crab.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Rob McDonald said there were methods people could use to assess whether their prized crab was full or empty.

"Generally, crabs that are low on meat have recently moulted their shell and have not had a chance to fill their body cavity with flesh," Mr McDonald said.

"Recently moulted crabs will often contain mostly liquid or a jelly mass with little edible flesh.

"Whether you're an avid crabber, or you buy them at the local market, you can ensure every crab you catch or buy is full by following a few simple tips.

"Firstly, take a look at the shell condition. A crab that has recently moulted will have a very clean, shiny and intact shell.

"Sometimes the shell will appear translucent.

"Full mud crabs often have algae or barnacles on the shell. Their shells are also likely to exhibit some general signs of wear and tear, such as worn inner 'teeth' on the claws.

"You should also look for the darker coloured maltese cross on the underside of the crab."

Mr McDonald said there were also areas on the crab shell that could be pressed in order to get an indication of fullness.

"You can apply pressure with your thumb and finger either side of the carapace or by turning the crab over and pressing firmly on the abdomen plates adjacent to the third leg. If the shell flexes at all, the crab is not full.

"For crabs where the shell appears new, be careful not to press too hard as your thumbs will penetrate the shell.

"Crabbers should ensure the crab is firmly tied or restrained before attempting to test the shell."

Mr McDonald urged crabbers to return empty mud crabs to the water as soon as possible.

"Mud crabs grow very rapidly after moulting their shells," he said.

"When empty mud crabs are returned to the water they become full of meat and are a better quality catch within a few weeks.

"Returning empty mud crabs to the water is important for the sustainability of the fishery."

For more information on Queensland's crabbing rules, visit, call 13 25 23 or download the free 'Qld Fishing' app from Apple and Google app stores.

Topics:  crabbing fishing mud crab outdoor-living outdoors

Abandoned mine sites could create 6000 jobs

NEW LIFE: Could abandoned mines bring thousands of jobs?

AS MANY AS 30 high-risk mines could create thousands of jobs.

Investor 'interest' in project to build 217 local homes

FUTURE ESTATE?: A syndicate of businessman are selling a Calliope project that is already well under way.

BUYERS weighing up potential of project to build 217 homes.

Owner of iconic Gladstone motel checking out

FAMILY TIME: After years of service to Gladstone's tourism industry, Mary Moore has put her iconic motel on the market so she can spend more time with her family.

ICONIC hotel with celebrity guests is put on the market.

Local Partners

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Britney Spears suffers wardrobe malfunction

Britney Spears suffered a wardrobe malfunction during performance

'You Spin Me Round' hitmaker dies aged 57

Pete Burns

Pete Burns has died aged 57

REVIEW: Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead disgusted me

I'm disgusted by The Walking Dead premiere.

SPOILERS: The Walking Dead premiere disgusted me.

Flick teases intense and entertaining Survivor grand final

Felicity 'Flick' Eggington in a scene from the TV series Australian Survivor.

GOLD Coaster's elimination leaves Lee, El and Kristie in final three

Priscilla concerned people will forget about Elvis

Priscilla Presley source Bang

She says she feels responsible to keep his legacy going

Coles to pay new owner of Tannum servo $320K

UP FOR GRABS: Expressions of interest in Tannum's new service station, which will house the new Coles Express, closed this month.

INVESTORS bid for new Tannum service station under construction.

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June