Elephant Rock and North Bay Rock Lobster Research Areas open to recreational potting

​This summer, recreational rock lobster fishers will have exclusive access to areas that have been closed to rock lobster fishing for 15 years.

On 2 December 2023, Elephant Rock and North Bay Rock Lobster research areas will open to recreational-only rock lobster potting.

Originally closed in 2008 to research the impact of large lobster on long-spined sea urchin, rock lobster in these areas are expected to be larger and occur in higher numbers. 

The opening of these areas presents not only an incredible opportunity for fishers, but also a unique opportunity for IMAS to research how much fishers value higher catch rates and larger lobsters. To support this valuable research, a temporary bag limit of one will apply in these areas only for the 2023/24 season. The bag limit will return to the wider Eastern Region limit of 2 for following seasons.

The areas will initially be open for a period of three years. Other research area rules remain in place, including no use of rock lobster rings and no diving for rock lobster or any other fish, including abalone.

Recreational rock lobster catch reporting also comes into effect from 2 December. All recreational rock lobster licence holders are required to report their rock lobster catch (even if it was 0) using the Fishing Tas app or telephone reporting service (1300 720 647). 

If you’ve fished in one of the research areas, please include this as your fishing location in your Catch Report. This will help us understand how many people fished these areas and what the catch rates were, which supports IMAS research. If you’re making your catch report using the Fishing Tas app, you can also choose to include citizen science information like the size and sex of lobsters you caught or released.

The more information we have about a fishery the more effectively we can manage it. This includes understanding what fishers value about the fishery, so where possible, we can manage to maintain those values along with biological sustainability.

Elephant Rock and North Bay locations 

Elephant Rock and North Bay locations

Elephant Rock Research Area 

Elephant Rock Rock Lobster Research Area

North Bay Rock Lobster Research Area

North Bay Rock Lobster Research Area

Published on: 11/7/2023


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