Exceptionally rare species of crab caught near Donegal Island

By Michelle NicPhaidin


By Michelle NicPhaidin



Exceptionally rare species of crab caught near Donegal Island

Toothed Rock Crab

A Machaire Rabhartaigh fishing boat has caught a rare species of crab off the coast of Tory Island. 

The crab which is commonly known as the 'Toothed Rock Crab' has only been caught three times before in Irish waters. 

Handa Isle, which operates from Magheroarty pier, caught the crab, which is a relation of the common brown crab, in 50 fathoms of water recently. 

A relative of the more familiar brown crab, the toothed rock crab has rarely been recorded in Irish waters.

John O'Brien said that the crab "was very different" from any crab they caught before. 

The fisherman spends two days at sea fishing crab and his boat keeps the crabs fresh until they are brought to shore. Up to nine tonnes of crab are then brought to Burtonport where they are exported to China. 

"We lift 1,200 pots daily and from that we will pick the best crab. We let the other three or four crabs go so that they can become stronger. The toothed rock crab was smaller than the average crab. We let it go at Magheroarty pier so we don't know where it went from there," he said. 

The well known fisherman said that he and the crew have enjoyed two good seasons of crab fishing.

Mr. O'Brien who was born on Inishbofin Island has been fishing since he was a child. 

"I never saw a crab like that before," he said.