Rock Lobster Translocation

  • The Rock Lobster Translocation Program moves small lobsters from slow growing areas of Tasmania to faster growing areas.
  • Lobsters are taken from deeper waters in South West Tasmania, where they are plentiful and slow-growing, and moved to shallower and warmer inshore waters, where they grow faster and boost the productivity of these areas.
  • From 2014 to 2022, lobsters were moved inshore on the South and West Coasts to boost fishery productivity in those areas.
  • Since 2022, translocation efforts have focused solely on the East Coast to support stock rebuilding in that area.
  • Over one million lobsters have been translocated since 2014.
Rock lobster translocation

Rock lobsters from the south west are translocated to East Coast release sites.

How translocation works

Lobsters have different growth rates and size at maturity around Tasmania depending on water temperature, lobster density and food availability.

Stock biomass and fishery productivity are increased by translocating undersize lobster from slow growing, deep-water areas of Tasmania to faster growing, inshore areas.

They increase growth rates quickly when moved to warmer waters. Translocated lobsters take around two years to reach the legal minimum size limit. They also start turning darker red in one to two moults. Darker red fish are generally more valuable to consumers.

Under the West and South Coast program, translocation was primarily focused on moving ‘white’ deep-water West Coast lobster closer inshore to increase commercial fishery productivity. The current translocation program is focused on moving lobster to the East Coast.

On the East Coast, translocation directly benefits all fishers. Fish moved to warmer East Coast waters increase in yield and value, support biomass rebuilding, and improve fisher’s experience.​

Translocation has no known sustainability risks. Research by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) has found translocated lobsters have a high rate of survival and there are no significant impacts on lobster populations in the areas lobsters are translocated from.


History and funding

Since 2014, the Program has translocated around 800,000 lobsters to the South and West Coasts, and 300,000 to the East Coast.

Translocation to the West and South Coasts began in 2014 under a program funded by the commercial rock lobster industry which ran until 2022.  Since 2022, all translocation has been focused on the East Coast and is jointly funded by the Government and the rock lobster industry.


East Coast Translocation​ ​

2015Government-funded East Coast translocation program commences, moving lobsters to sites in the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone between Eddystone Point and Tasman Head on Bruny Island.
​2022 onwards
​All translocation is focused on the East Coast with 70,000 lobsters moved to boost East Coast stock rebuilding.
​2023​175,000 lobsters are translocated to the East Coast to further boost rebuilding. Funding is split 50/50 between industry and Government.  This number is equivalent to the combined total take of lobsters by the commercial and recreational sectors.
​2024 and 2025
​An additional $100,000 per year has been provided by Government for East Coast translocation. This complements ongoing industry support for this important stock rebuilding initiative.


The Rock Lobster Translocation Program is overseen by a governance committee with representatives from the Department, IMAS, the Tasmanian Association for Recreational Fishing (TARFish) and the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishermen's Association (TRLFA).

On-water translocation is undertaken by commercial rock lobster fishers and is coordinated by the TRLFA.



    Contact

    Wild Fisheries Management Branch
    Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street
    GPO Box 44
    Hobart TAS 7001
    Phone: 03 6165 3000, 1300 368 550
    Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Hotline

    Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

    0427 655 557

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    Contact us

    Recreational Fishing

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    Hobart TAS 7000

    Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

    Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries Licensing

    Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au