East Coast Rock Lobster Stock Rebuilding Strategy

The East Coast Stock Rebuilding Strategy aims to rebuild rock lobster stocks to greater than 20% of an unfished stock by limiting the amount of lobsters harvested each year from the area.

Summary

Rock lobster stocks on the East Coast reached historically low levels during 2011-12.  In response, a strategy to rebuild stocks in this area was developed.

The goal of the Strategy is to rebuild rock lobster stocks to greater than 20% of the unfished stock (or virgin biomass) by 2023.

The Strategy aims to leave more rock lobster in the water to rebuild by limiting the total catch each year between Eddystone Point and Tasman Head.  This area is called the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone (ECSRZ).

East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone map 

To reduce the recreational catch, bag limits and seasons have been decreased.  Surveys of licensed fishers in the Eastern Region monitor the total recreational catch each year.  

A catch cap or maximum commercial catch trigger is set for the East Coast each year.  When the catch approaches the trigger, the commercial fishery in the ECSRZ closes until the following March.

IMAS report the biomass for each stock assessment area in annual stock assessments so the progress towards achieving the 20% goal can be monitored.  To keep the strategy on track, further management changes may be introduced.


Strategy document

An initial strategy document detailing goals, regional management initiatives and monitoring was released in 2013, then updated in 2017.

  East Coast Stock Rebuilding Strategy - September 2018   (2Mb)


Rock Lobster Translocation Program

Since 2015, the Tasmanian Government has funded a Rock Lobster Translocation Program to support the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone. Over the first three years of the program from 2015-2018, 145,000 lobsters were translocated.

In 2018, the program was funded at $75,000 per year for a further four years through to 2022. This will enable 25,000 - 30,000 lobsters to be translocated each year. 

In total 229,500 lobsters have been translocated to the East Coast.  

Translocation increases productivity and biomass in an area by moving lobsters from slow growing, deep water areas in the south west to faster growth inshore east coast areas.

Rock lobster translocation east coast

Rock lobsters from the south coast are translocated to East Coast release locations

Funding

This program is funded by the Government, overseen by a Governance Committee with representatives from NRE, IMAS, TARFish and the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishermans Association (TRLFA). The on-water translocation is undertaken by commercial rock lobster fishers and coordinated by the TRLFA.

West Coast Translocation

The TRLFA also undertakes a translocation program funded by the commercial rock lobster industry to boost productivity on the West Coast, in total 772,500 rock lobsters have been translocated under this program since 2014.


More information

For season opening dates see Recreational Seasons or Commercial Seasons.

For rock lobster catch and research information including recreational catch estimates and information on recreational catch tags go to: Recreational Rock Lobster Research

See also boundary maps for the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone.


    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 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

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