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Species Information

Blue Swimmer Crab

Portunus pelagicus

Other Names
Blue crab, blue manna crab, bluey, sand crab, sandy.

Family
Portunidae (swimming crabs).

Description, Location, Habitat and Harvesting Information
Available wild-caught (though there are some aquaculture trials for soft-shell Crabs in Queensland), it is a coastal marine dweller found mainly in bays, estuaries and intertidal areas up to about 60m, most commonly on muddy or sandy bottoms but also on rubble, seagrass and seaweed. Found around most of the Australian coast, 50% of the commercial catch is from southern Queensland with the remainder mostly from central NSW, SA and WA north to Shark Bay. Caught in traps, dillies and entangling devices, and as a bycatch of trawling.

Season
Available year round with peaks from November to April.

Size and Weight
Average 300g and commonly to 400g, but can grow to over 1kg. Size varies significantly from state to state.

Price
Medium priced.

Relations
Coral Crab, Mud Crabs, Sand Crabs, Velvet Crab.

To Buy
Crabs should feel heavy for their size and have their legs and claws intact. Blue Swimmer Crabs are one of the few Crabs not sold live, but are available cooked or green (uncooked), as they don’t survive well once captured. Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells, without any discolouration, particularly at joints, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. If possible, give them a gentle shake to ensure there’s no sound of sloshing water. Females with eggs are protected in all states, and in Queensland catching any female Blue Swimmer Crabs is prohibited.

To Store
Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC. Picked crabmeat can be stored in the same way.

To Cook
The male’s shell is a distinctive mottled bright blue to purple when uncooked, while the female’s tends to be more mottled brown; like all crustaceans, they turn orange when cooked (with the male's shell remaining brighter). Average yield is 35% (from claws and body). The flesh is translucent when raw and white when cooked, it has a mild, sweet, nutty flavour, low oiliness and is moist, evenly textured and firm (claw meat is firmer than that found in body and legs). Some people enjoy the stronger-tasting ‘mustard’ or brown meat (internal organs) in the body.

Cooking Methods
Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry. Serve boiled Crab with Asian dipping sauces such as nam pla, or mayonnaise (flavoured with 'mustard', garlic, or herbs) or hot melted butter with a squeeze of lemon juice. Do not recook cooked Crabs, pick out the meat and use it in salads, sandwiches, as a garnish for soups, or in dishes where it is just gently warmed, such as pasta, risotto, Crab cakes and omelettes.

Goes Well With
Anchovies, black pepper, butter, chervil, chilli, coconut, coriander, cream, dill, fish sauce, French tarragon, garlic, ginger, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mayonnaise, nutmeg, onion, parsley, soy sauce, tomatoes, turmeric.

Alternatives
Marron, Mud Crab, Redclaw, Rocklobster, Spanner Crab, Yabby.

Imports
Frozen meat from Japan and Vietnam and whole from New Zealand. ‘Blue Crab’ imported from USA is a different species (Callinectes sapidus).

Recipes
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Species Groups

Learn about the following species groups (including their most common members, as well as purchasing, storage and cooking information), or select a specific species from the species list below.
Further information

Can't find the information you're after?  Email  fishline@sydneyfishmarket.com.au with your questions.

Species List
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Albacore
Thunnus alalunga

Atlantic Salmon
Salmo salar

Australian Bass
Macquaria novemaculeata

Australian Salmon
Arripus trutta (Eastern Australian Salmon)
Arripus truttaceaus (Western Australian Salmon)

Australian Sardine
Sardinops neopilchardus

Bailer Shell
Livonia mamilla (False Bailer Shell)
Melo species (Melon Shell)
Other members of the Zidoninae subfamily (Bailer Shell)

Balmain Bug
Ibacus peronii (Eastern Balmain Bug)

Banana Prawn
Fenneropenaeus indicus (Redleg Banana Prawn)
Fenneropenaeus merguiensis (White Banana Prawn)

Barramundi
Lates calcarifer

Bay Prawn
Metapenaeus bennettae (Greentail Prawn)
Metapenaeus insolitus (Greasyback Prawn)

Bigeye Trevally
Caranx sexfasciatus

Bigeye Tuna
Thunnus obesus

Black Bream
Acanthopagrus butcheri

Black Pomfret
Parastromateus niger

Blacklip Abalone
Haliotis rubra

Blue Grenadier
Macruronus novaezelandiae

Blue Mackerel
Scomber australasicus

Blue Mussel
Mytilus galloprovincialis

Blue Swimmer Crab
Portunus pelagicus

Blue Warehou
Seriolella brama

Blue-Eye Trevalla
Hyperoglyphe antarctica (Blue-Eye Trevalla)
Schedophilus labyrinthica (Ocean Blue-Eye)

Bluespotted Flathead
Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus

Bonito
Australian Bonito (Sarda australis)
Oriental Bonito (Sarda orientalis)
Leaping Bonito (Cybiosarda elegans)

Brook Trout (‘Saltwater Charr’)

Salvelinus fontinalis


Chinook Salmon (‘King’ Salmon)

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha


Commercial Scallop
Pecten fumatus

Cuttlefish
Sepia apama (Giant Cuttlefish)
Sepia pharaonis (Pharaoh’s Cuttlefish)

Dart
Trachinotus botla (Common Dart)
Trachinotus baillonii (Smallspotted Dart)
Trachinotus blochii (Snubnose Dart)
Trachinotus coppingeri (Swallowtail Dart)
Trachinotus anak (Giant Oystercracker Dart)

Deepwater Flathead
Neoplatycephalus conatus

Diamondscale Mullet
Liza vaigiensis

Dusky Flathead
Platycephalus fuscus

Eastern Rocklobster
Jasus verreauxi

Eastern Shovelnose Ray
Aptychotrema rostrata

Endeavour Prawn
Metapenaeus endeavouri (Blue Endeavour Prawn)
Metapenaeus ensis (Red Endeavour Prawn)

Frypan Bream
Argyrops spinifer

Giant Trevally
Caranx ignobilis

Goldband Snapper
Pristipomoides multidens (Goldband Snapper)
Pristipomoides typus (Sharptooth Snapper)

Golden Perch
Macquaria ambigua

Golden Trevally
Gnathanodon speciosus

Gould's Squid
Nototodarus gouldi

Greenlip Abalone
Haliotis laevigata

Grey Mackerel
Scomberomorus semifasciatus

Jack Mackerel
Trachurus declivis (Common Jack Mackerel)
Trachurus murphyi (Peruvian Jack Mackerel)

Jackass Morwong
Nemadactylus macropterus

John Dory
Zeus faber

King Dory
Cyttus traversi

King George Whiting
Sillaginodes punctata

King Prawn
Melicertus latisulcatus (Western King Prawn)
Melicertus plebejus (Eastern King Prawn)
Melicertus longistylus (Redspot King Prawn)

King Threadfin
Polydactylus macrochir

Loligo Squid
Loligo formosa
Loligo chinensis

Longtail Tuna
Thunnus tonggol

Marron
Cherax tenuimanus (Margaret River Marron)
Cherax cainii (Smooth Marron)

Mirror Dory
Zenopsis nebulosus

Moreton Bay Bug
Thenus orientalis (Sandbug)
Thenus indicus (Mudbug)

Mud Crab
Scylla serrata (Giant Mud Crab)
Scylla olivacea (Orange Mud Crab)

Murray Cod
Maccullochella peelii

Native Oyster
Ostrea angasi

Northern Calamari
Sepioteuthis lessoniana

Ocean Jacket
Nelusetta ayraudi

Octopus
Octopus aegina (Baby Octopus)
Octopus tetricus (Sydney Octopus)
Octopus australia (Southern Octopus)
Octopus maorum (Maori Octopus)
Octopus pallidus (Pale Octopus)
Octopus graptus (Scribbled Night Octopus)

Pacific Oyster
Crassostrea gigas

Periwinkle
Littorinidae species (‘True’ Periwinkle)
Neritidae species (Nerite) 
Turbo species (Turban Shells)

Pikey Bream
Acanthopagrus berda

Pink Ling
Genypterus blacodes

Pipi
Donax deltoides

Queenfish
Scomberoides tol (Needleskin Queenfish)
Scomberoides tala (Barred Queenfish)
Scomberoides lysan (Lesser Queenfish)
Scomberoides commersonnianus (Giant Queenfish)

Rainbow Trout ('Ocean Trout')

Oncorhynchus mykiss


Red Emperor
Lutjanus sebae

Redclaw
Cherax quadricarinatus

Redfish
Centroberyx affinis

Ribaldo
Mora moro

Rock Ling
Genypterus tigerinus

Royal Red Prawn
Haliporoides sibogae

Samsonfish
Seriola dumerili (Amberjack)
Seriola hippos (Samsonfish)

Sand Whiting
Sillago ciliata

Saucer Scallop
Amusium balloti (Ballot’s Saucer Scallop)
Amusium pleuronectes (Northern Saucer Scallop)

School Mackerel
Scomberomorus queenslandicus

School Prawn
Metapenaeus macleayi (School Prawn)
Metapenaeus dalli (Western School Prawn)

School Whiting
Sillago flindersi (Eastern School Whiting)
Sillago bassensis (Southern School Whiting)
Sillago robusta (Stout Whiting)

Sea Mullet
Mugil cephalus

Silver Dory
Cyttus australis

Silver Perch
Bidyanus bidyanus

Silver Trevally
Pseudocaranx dentex (Silver Trevally)
Pseudocaranx wrighti (Skipjack Trevally)

Silver Warehou
Seriolella punctata

Snapper
Pagrus auratus

Southern Bluefin Tuna
Thunnus maccoyii

Southern Calamari
Sepioteuthis australis

Southern Rocklobster
Jasus edwardsii

Southern Sand Flathead
Platycephalus bassensis

Spanish Mackerel
Scomberomorus commerson

Spanner Crab
Ranina ranina

Spotted Mackerel
Scomberomorus munroi

Striped Marlin
Tetrapturus audax

Surf Clam
Dosinia caerulea

Swordfish
Xiphias gladius

Sydney Rock Oyster
Saccostrea glomerata

Tarwhine
Rhabdosargus sarba

Tiger Flathead
Neoplatycephalus richardsoni (Tiger Flathead)
Neoplatycephalus aurimaculatus (Toothy Flathead)

Tiger Prawn
Penaeus monodon (Black Tiger Prawn)
Marsupenaeus japonicus (Kuruma Prawn)
Penaeus esculentus (Brown Tiger Prawn)
Penaeus semisulcatus (Grooved Tiger Prawn)

Trochus
Trochus niloticus

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