to size and possession limits, transiting and tail-marking came into effect on
1 November 2022.
The rules apply to both southern rock lobster and eastern (green) rock lobster, also referred to in Tasmania as crayfish.
- You must be 10 years or older to hold a rock lobster licence.
Aboriginal fishers are exempt from holding a licence but must comply with all other rules except catch reporting. Where gear must be marked with a licence number, Aboriginal fishers should use a
unique identifying code.
There are two size limit zones.
Rock lobsters must be marked according to the zone where they were taken.
If you are moving between size limit zones, you must make a transit report (see transiting between size limit zones below). You cannot possess female lobster smaller than 120mm inside the Northern Zone
For details, see
measuring, marking and sexing rock lobster.
|Northern Zone - Waters north of 42°00'S (near Henty River) and Cape Pillar (43°13'18"S). See map above.|
You cannot possess female lobster smaller than 120mm inside the Northern Zone, even if they were caught in the Southern Zone.
|Female: 120 mm|
|Male: 110 mm|
|Southern Zone - Waters south of Cape PiIlar (43°13'18"S) and 42°00'S (near Henty River) Includes Frederick Henry and Norfolk Bays and Storm Bay.||Female: 105 mm|
Bag, possession, boat and boat gear limits
You cannot move from the Western Region to the Eastern Region if you possess more
rock lobster than the Eastern Region limits. You do not need to make a transit report
when moving between catch limit regions.
You must be licensed to possess rock lobster on state waters.
* Eastern Region catch limits and tail marking requirements apply within 100 metres of unloading rock lobster, except where your shack or home is within 100 metres.
Important: You cannot move from the Western Region to the Eastern Region if you possess more rock lobster than the Eastern Region limits. You don't need to make a transit report when moving between catch limit regions.
|Child under 10||0|
*further than 100 metres from unloading any rock lobster, unless the fisher's shack or home is within the 100 metres (Eastern Region).
**These possession limits also apply if you
are travelling on a commercial trading vessel (i.e. a passenger ferry).
When on State Waters, if you can demonstrate you have fished for more than one day (e.g. an overnight trip to an island), you may possess a maximum of:
- 10 lobster in the Western Region
- 4 lobster in the Northern Bass Strait, and
- 4 lobster in the Eastern Region. This limit also applies to islands in the Eastern Region other than Flinders, Cape Barren and Bruny Islands.
Boat gear limit
A maximum of 5 rock lobster pots and 20 rock lobster rings are permitted to be on, or used from, a single boat. The person in charge of the boat is responsible for adhering to boat limits.
Mandatory catch reporting
From the 2 December 2023, you are required to report your rock lobster catch, including if you fish for rock lobster and do not catch any.
You must report your catch using either:
- the Fishing Tas app; or
- the telephone reporting service (1300 720 647).
You can also report on behalf of another fisher using the app. It is the responsibility of the fisher making the report to ensure it is accurate.
See Reporting your catch for more information.
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.
See Rock Lobster Gear and How to Mark It for other rules relating to rock lobster gear.
Transiting seasonally closed waters
You cannot possess pots, rings or lobster on seasonally closed waters, except the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and River Derwent waters when the Eastern Region is open but the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone (ECSRZ) is closed. See details and map below.
You cannot transit between the
Western Region and Eastern Region with pots, rings or rock lobster
onboard when the Eastern Region is closed.
Transiting the D’Entrecasteaux Channel
When waters outside the ECSRZ are open but the ECSRZ is closed, you can transit
the River Derwent and D’Entrecasteaux Channel
waters with pots, rings, and/or rock lobster onboard provided:
Once the ECSRZ opens, you do not have to make these reports.
- You make a transit report at
least one hour before entering the D’Entrecasteaux
Channel or River Derwent by phoning 1300 720 647.
- You directly transit between closed and open waters (no swimming, diving or stopping).
- You only leave from and 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 at least one hour before re-entering the closed area with pots and/or rock lobster onboard.
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 eg. from St Helens or
Transiting between size limit zones
You can transit into another size limit zone with lobsters on board, provided that:
- You do not possess female rock lobster smaller than 120mm in the Northern Zone.
- You make a transit report by phoning 1300 720 647, or via the size limit zone transit online form, at least one hour before crossing any size limit boundary.
- Lobsters are
tail-marked according to the zone they were taken in.
You do not have to make a size limit zone transit report if you have no rock lobsters on board. Only one transit report is required per boat.
What can I use for bait?
There are restrcitions on what species can be used for bait in rock lobster pots and rings. More details here.
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.
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.
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.
For more information see the RSPCA Guidelines.
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).