Background information on the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery
Outline of the Fishery
The rock lobster fishery is a major Tasmanian industry providing significant benefits from exports from the commercial fishery and a highly popular and iconic recreational fishery.
The State’s remote location and pristine environment provide ideal conditions for the southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii). Commonly known in Tasmania as crayfish, the rock lobster lives in a variety of habitats ranging from shallow rocky inshore pools out to the continental shelf. It varies in colour from the deep reddish purple of shallow water specimens to purple and creamy yellow in deeper offshore waters. A large female rock lobster can carry up to 400,000 eggs. These ‘berried’ females are totally protected in Tasmanian waters and must be returned to the water immediately. This is one of the many measures implemented by the State Government to ensure sustainability of this high value and highly prized crustacean.
The Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery operates in state and Commonwealth waters surrounding Tasmania. Since 1986 the Tasmanian Government has had jurisdiction of the fishery in waters south of 39° 12’, and out to 200 nautical miles from the coastline by way of an Offshore Constitutional Settlement with the Commonwealth Government. The fishery is divided into 11 regions (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Management regions for the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery. Regions 1-8 represent shallow waters and 9-11 are deep waters.
Management of the Fishery
The fishery is managed under the provisions of the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 and Fisheries (Rock Lobster) Rules 2011. Management includes a combination of input and output controls to ensure the industry’s ongoing viability. These include limited entry (312 licences); restricted seasons; gear restrictions and requirements; a commercial total allowable catch (TAC); minimum size limits; and a comprehensive monitoring regime which requires documentation and real time reporting.
The industry is represented by the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishermen’s Association, a peak body with a strong voice on the Ministerial Advisory Committee for crustacean fisheries. Industry members play a key role in determining research priorities and annual fishery assessments.
|Current Fishery Management|
|Key Markets and Exports|
|Monthly Catch Updates|