A smaller crustacea recognised by red eyes, soft velvet-like body and feisty temperament. The back legs are flattened into a paddle which help them move fast underwater. They can be found when rock pooling along the Northumberland district coastline.
Habitat: Prefers rocky substrates from the shoreline to 80m depths.
Diet: Prawns, molluscs and small fish.
Life cycle: In spring and summer velvet crabs will reproduce in similar but shorter life cycle as that of the edible crab. Velvet crabs lifespan is around 5 years and are understood to reach maturity at 1 year.
Fishing gear used: Pots or traps with bycatch from trawl and dredge fisheries alongside edible crabs.
NIFCA district & management: Mostly fished commercially, they are a popular species exported to southern European countries. More information on commercial and recreational shellfish permits can be found HERE