How much meat is in that mud crab?

News release | 19-Aug-2019

Queensland scientists are working with the seafood industry on world-first research that will help reveal the meat fullness of live mud crabs.

Queensland Government

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


Media Release


30 July 2019

How much meat is in that mud crab?


Queensland scientists are working with the seafood industry on world-first research that will help reveal the meat fullness of live mud crabs.


Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Principal Scientist, Dr Brett Wedding, said Queensland researchers were the first in the world to apply near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) technology to determine the meat content of live mud crabs.


“Initial studies by DAF and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation on mud crabs demonstrated the technique was very effective and could help tackle the problem of predicting the meat fullness of mud crabs,” Dr Wedding said.  


“The technology will allow the industry to guarantee premium quality mud crab based on meat fullness, increasing profitability and returns along the entire supply chain by ensuring consumer satisfaction and increasing repeat sales.


“The current research is initially focused on mud crabs in New South Wales, which operates on a quota system where every crab taken from a trap and landed is counted towards the quota.  If the crab dies because it is empty and more susceptible to stress, that crab is still counted in the quota but provides no income.


“The NIRS technology is already routinely applied to other products, such as determining the protein content in wheat, the sugar content in fruit, or the oil content of avocados.


“If applied successfully to mud crabs, it will be a fast and reliable way of measuring mud crab meat fullness enabling consistent selection and supply of crabs with high meat content.


“This would ensure consumer satisfaction through purchasing quality mud crabs with high meat content, minimise negative experiences, restore confidence in the market place and increase the likelihood of return purchases.


“The development of this technology by DAF with co-funding from FRDC will ultimately benefit the $22 million Queensland crab fishery through enabling our commercial crabbers to offer better quality crabs to consumers. This will have the double benefit of better consumer experiences and increased value of the catch to commercial crabbers.”


The $900,000 “Developing a non-invasive method to assess mud crab meat fullness using portable near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)” project is supported by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) on behalf of the Australian Government, Viavi Solutions Inc. and the Queensland Government. It is due for completion in 2022.


ENDS


Media: media@daf.qld.gov.au

Media contact: DAF Media, media@daf.qld.gov.au