RIFG Brown Crab Tagging Project


Orkney sustainable fisheries has undertaken brown crab tagging work since 2010 with separate tagging activates also conducted by Marine Scotland Science in 2008 – 2010. From these studies clear directional patterns in the movement of brown crabs have emerged around Scotland’s coastline. Of these movements long distance travels by females in a westerly direction from Orkney to the Isle of Lewis and Skye have been identified (Fig 1).

Figure 1. Long distance female brown crab movements from initial release points and recaptures from around North West Scottish Coast (2010-2016)

However, these movements provide a one directional understanding of brown crab movements around Scotland. This project aims to address these knowledge gaps by undertaking simultaneous tagging Scotland wide through the Scottish regional inshore fisheries group network (RIFG) .  Tagging will be undertake from 2018 – 2020.

Aims & Objectives

  • Engage with the fishing community in undertaking brown crab tagging ;
  • Tag an ambitious 10,000 crabs per RIFG over three years;
  • Investigate the movements of brown crab between regions and current stock assessment areas

What to do with tagged Crabs?

If you happen to capture a brown crab please report the capture to the number printed on the cable tie tag, please provide the following:

  • Date of capture
  • Tag Number
  • Lat & long of capture location
  • Size
  • Sex

Alternatively you can submit recaptures via the crab tagging recapture form on the epicollect app. Instructions on how to install the app and find the forms are demonstrated in the video below:

What can you do? 

If you are interested in participating in the project please contact your regional coordinator using the following email address:

Shetland – carole@ssmo.shetland.co.uk

Orkney – matt@orkneysustainablefisheries.co.uk

North & East Coast –  matt@orkneysustainablefisheries.co.uk

West Coast – info@clydemarineplan.scot

Western Isles – duncan@craigard.co.uk

Current tag releases and recaptures from this project can be seen below: