Rock Lobster Fishing

​​​*This page has been updated to reflect new rules that apply from 1 November 2022.* 

To find out what's changed, watch the video - Key Rules You Need to Know:

 


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The following rules apply to both southern rock lobster and eastern (green) rock lobster which are also referred to in Tasmania as crayfish.

Licences

  • You must be 10 years or older to hold a rock lobster licence. ​

Seasons

See the Fishing Seasons page for current open and closed season dates.

Size limits

Regional size limits apply for taking rock lobster.

​Zone

​Size Limit

Northern Zone - Waters from 42°00'S (near Henty River) north and east to Cape Pillar (43°13'18"S). See map below.

You cannot possess female lobster smaller than 120mm​ inside the Northern Zone.

​Female: 120 mm
​Male: 110 mm
Southern Zone ​- Waters from Cape PiIlar (43°13'18"S) south and west to 42°00'S near Henty River (includes Frederick Henry and Norfolk Bays and Storm Bay).
​Female: 105 mm
Male: 110 mm​

 
Rock lobster regional size limits map 2022 

Watch the video - Size limits and tail-marking rules

 

Transiting between size limit zones

You can transit into another size limit zone with lobsters on board provided that:
  • You make a transit report by phoning 1300 720 647 at least one hour before crossing any size limit boundary.
  • Lobsters are tail marked in accordance with the zone in which they were taken.
  • You do not possess female lobsters smaller than 120mm in the Northern Zone.
You can log your size limit zone transit report via the size limit zone transit online form

Watch the video - Transiting between size limit zones with rock lobster on board

 


​​Bag, possession, boat and boat gear limit​​s

​​ ​​Region​

​​Bag Limit

​Possession Limit

​​​​Boat Limit​

​​​ ​Bo​​​at Gear Limit

Eastern Region
* Easter​​n ​Region possession limits and tail marking requirements apply within 100 metres of unloading any rock lobster, except where the fisher's shack or home is within the 100 metres
​2
4​
10​
​​​​​​​​Rock Lobster Pot: 5

 
Rock Lobster Ring: 20

*The person in charge of the boat is responsible for adhering to boat limits.​ ​ ​ ​ ​
Western Region
​5
​10
​25
Northern Bass Strait
​2
​4
​10
Mainland Tasmania, islands in the Western Region, Flinders, Cape Barren and Bruny​ Islands including homes, shacks and vehicles​
​-
​10
​-​
​Non-licensed
​-
​On land - 2
On state waters - 0
​-
Child under 10
​-
0​-​
  • * Extended or overnight tripIf you are on State waters with more than the daily b​ag limit, you must prove you have fished for more than one day​. 
  • * Transiting: Fishers transiting from west to east must comply with Eastern Region bag limits before passing Whale Head or Point Sorell. See below for more information on transiting.
  • What can I use as bait​? ​



Recreational rock lobster bag and possession limits

Sharing rock lobster when group fishing

Rock lobster can be shared between licensed pot fishers on the same boat provided:

  • A fisher’s excess catch is only given to another fisher on the same boat who has a pot set, or who has retrieved a pot that was set within 250 metres of any other pot used.
  • Any retained lobster is tail marked in accordance with the rules.
  • After lobster are marked, each fisher must not possess more than the bag limit.
  • The boat operator ensures the total number of lobsters is within the boat limit.
Group sharing of rock lobster does not apply to lobster taken by diving.

Watch the video - How to share rock lobster when group fishing

 


Holding lobster on an unattended vessel

A fisher can leave lobsters on a boat unattended and be more than 100 metres away provided:

  • The lobsters are not left unattended for more than 24 hours.
  • The lobsters are in a separate compartment or container (such as a bag) which is marked with their licence number or unique identifying code.
  • The fisher is not using a cauf at the same time.

Setting gear at season opening​

You can only possess a rock lobster pot on state waters from 6am the day before the season opens for that region or zone and only set a pot after 1pm on the same day. Pots can then be pulled after midnight.

Transiting at season opening

You cannot possess pots or rings in any part of the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone until that area opens, except you can possess pots in D’Entrecasteaux Channel and River De​rwent waters - see map below.

No rock lobster potting areas D'Entrecasteaux Channel and River Derwent​ 
 

Transiting the D’Entrecasteaux Channel

When waters outside the ECSRZ are open but the ECSRZ is closed, you can transit D’Entrecasteaux Channel and River Derwent waters with pots and/or rock lobster onboard provided:
  • You make a transit report by phoning 1300 720 647 at least one hour before entering the D’Entrecasteaux Channel or River Derwent.
  • You directly transit between closed and open waters (no swimming, diving or stopping).
  • You only leave from or return to a public wharf, boat ramp or jetty and unload your lobster, pots and rings within an hour of landing there.
  • You make a transit report by phoning 1300 720 647 at least one hour before re-entering the closed area with pots and/or lobster onboard.
Once the ECSRZ opens, you do not have to make these reports.

All transiting must occur via the southern end of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.

Transiting is not permitted through other seasonally closed areas including the northern boundary of the ECSRZ, from areas such as St Helens or Ansons Bay.

Watch the video - Transiting reporting explained​


​Eating rock lobster at sea

You can cut up and eat one rock lobster for each licence holder on a boat. This rock lobster is included in your daily bag limit.

Humanely killing rock lobster

To avoid stress and achieve best eating qualities rock lobster should be humanely killed before cooking. This can be done by:

  • Step 1: Freezer chill lobster in air at deep freeze temperatures of - 13°C (5°F) for approximately 30 minutes until rendered insensible.
  • Step 2: After chilling, the insensible crustacean should be killed immediately. This is most easily achieved by cutting through the centreline of the head and abdomen (splitting the lobster in half) or inserting a knife into the head of the animal (spiking).

For more information see the RSPCA Guidelines.

More information

Measuring, marking and sexing rock lobster
Rock Lobster Catch Monitoring App Trial - recreational fishers can log their catch as part of a trial to better manage the rock lobster fishery.


Illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe​​


    Contact

    Recreational Fishing Enquiries
    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St
    Hobart TAS 7000
    Phone: 03 6165 3233, 1300 720 647
    Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Hotline

    Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

    0427 655 557

    What to report? arrow button

    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