SOME GUIDELINES FOR CLAWESOME CRABBING IN WEYMOUTH

A new campaign has been launched in Weymouth to raise awareness amongst ‘crabbers’ about the correct way to care for Common Shore Crabs (Carcinus maenas) and to crab in a way that is more kind to marine wildlife. Crabbing is a popular summer activity in Weymouth for visitors and locals, and is a real chance for kids and grown‐ups to get close to our wildlife.

Caz Dennett, one of the three campaign organizers said

“On my dog walks along the harbour I regularly observe people crabbing, it is great to see families doing outdoor activities and having fun together, but I often think, do they know how to do it in a way that is kind to the crabs and has least impact on our local marine wildlife?”

Caz remembered seeing an article from Dorset Wildlife Trust a couple of years ago that raised this issue and wanted to take it further. She spoke with friends Marine Biologist, Emma Smart and graphic designer, Andy Smith about developing the idea into a feasible campaign.

The team identified 5 guidelines…
1. Use a bait bag, not a hook
2. Maximum of 3 crabs per bucket, return any fighting crabs
3. Replace sea water every 10 minutes, keep your bucket in the shade
4. Return all crabs to the sea gently
5. Take all kit and litter with you when finished, don’t leave it near the sea

The trio decided that producing a leaflet, poster and sticker was the best way to communicate the simple guidelines. Emma spoke with many Weymouth retailers who sell the kits and it quickly became clear that they were keen to get involved and wanted to help people crab with kindness. More than 20 outlets in Weymouth are now on‐board and will distribute the leaflets with crabbing kits at the point of sale.

Andy Smith, the project’s designer said
“Local initiatives like this are important to maintain the sustainability of our seas. It was a real boost to discover that all retail outlets were equally keen to protect the marine wildlife in our lovely harbour.”

The project is being supported by Weymouth Bid. Claudia Moore, Chief Operations Officer said

“Weymouth BID was very pleased to be approached about this community‐led project and we are proud to fund a project that acknowledges one of Weymouth’s great traditions, whilst working with local retailers and raising awareness around ecological issues.”

Emma Smart, Marine Biologist said
“hopefully this initiative will also develop an inclination amongst children and adults to protect and preserve other less ‘charismatic and cuddly’ species of wildlife”.