Sand Crab

Crab sand
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit15


possession limit30


boat limit-

Limits apply to inshore crab species combined.

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size

See Crab Fishing for more information.

Other names

common sand crab, red spotted crab, swimming crab, paddle crab, surf crab

Scientific name

Ovalipes australiensis

Grows to

Up to

100 mm (carapace length)

Identifying features

​A medium sized crab with two distinctive red to dark orange oval 'eye' patches at the base of the dorsal carapace. The two rear legs from two paddle-like appendages that allow the crab to swim well, even on the surface at times. The carapace is smooth, about as wide as it is long, and pale brown to blue-grey in colour. 


Female crabs with eggs cannot be kept.  One bait trap can be used. Specialised crab traps cannot be used.​


Found in sandy areas in depths to 60m. 

Fishing Information

If you are continually losing bait whilst fishing over a sandy bottom in estuaries in summer, you may well have sand crabs feeding. They are masters at bait stealing but rarely become hooked. 


Sand crab are quick and agile movers with good eyesight. Be careful handling them as they can give you a nasty nip from very sharp claws. The best way is to hold them across the back carapace keeping your fingers well away from the pincers. 


These crabs are quite edible, the difficulty will be catching enough for a feed. Boil or steam like other crabs or stir fry. 


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

What to report? arrow button

Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647


Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550


Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550