Southern Rock Lobster

Licence required

You must be 10 years or older to hold a rock lobster licence.
Get a licence
rock lobster southern
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe

Licence required

You must be 10 years or older to hold a rock lobster licence.
Get a licence
Season: Rules apply
Western Region
Eastern Region
map
bag house boat
Eastern Region2410
Western Region51025
Mainland TAS-10-
Northern Bass Strait (above 39°33’) limits are 2 (bag), 4 (possession) and 10 (boat). The limits and rules apply to southern rock lobster and eastern (green) rock lobster combined.

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size

North West Zone - male 110mm, female 120mm

Other Waters - male 110mm, female 105mm

Measuring
See Rock Lobster Rules for information about measuring, marking and sexing rock lobster and marking your gear.

Stock status

Recovering

Other names

crayfish, cray, spinylobster


Scientific name

Jasus edwardsii

Grows to


Up to

220mm (carapace length) & 5kg.

Identifying features


​These large, spiny crustaceans are orange-red in colour with a rough textured shell, being darker red in shallower waters to almost white in very deep waters.  Their features include a tough carapace, long antennae, eyes on moving stalks, six small limbs around the mouth, five pairs of walking legs and a segmented tail ending in a fan with swimmerets underneath.

Season Information

​See Fishing Seasons. You may only possess a rock lobster pot on state waters from 6am the day before the season opens and only set a pot after 1pm on the s​ame day. Pots may then be pulled after midnight.

Season dates are subject to change.

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.

You cannot possess pots or rings in any part of the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone including the D'Entrecasteaux Channel or waters between St Helens and Eddystone Point until that area opens.

Possession limit

  • The mainland possession limit applies on mainland Tasmania, islands in the Western Region and on Flinders, Cape Barren and Bruny Islands including homes, shacks and vehicles. A lower possession limit applies in the Eastern Region.
  • Eastern Region possession limits apply within 100 metres of unloading any rock lobster, except where the fisher’s shack or home is within the 100 metres.
  • Non-licensed possession limit - 2 rock lobster on land and 0 rock lobster on water.
  • Children under 10 cannot possess rock lobster.
  • These limits apply to all rock lobster species combined.

​Boat gear limit

5 rock lobster pots and 20 rock lobster rings.

Rules

See Rock Lobster Rules for information about measuring, marking and sexing rock lobster and marking your gear.  The rules apply to both southern and eastern (green) rock lobster.

  • The rules apply to both southern and eastern (green) rock lobster.
  • You can cut up and eat one rock lobster per licence holder at sea. This lobster is included in your bag limit.
  • You cannot take rock lobster with eggs attached.
  • You cannot possess specially marked rock lobsters which have either two separate holes of at least 5mm in diameter in the tail fan, two coloured lines on the underside of the tail or a blue T-bar tag with the words ‘TAFI Research-Illegal To Take’. You can keep other tagged lobster-see Responsible fishing tips.
  • Highgrading your catch is not allowed. You can't bring more than your daily bag limit back to the boat or shore and sort them there. Fish are regarded as taken and in your possession as soon as collected or caught.   

Area restrictions

Catch limits apply in Rock Lobster Regions (Eastern, Western and Northern Bass Strait).

Habitat

Found around Tasmania near rocky reefs and in crevices from close inshore out to 200 metres depth.  After hatching, the young larvae undergo several complicated life stages for between 9-24 months.

Fishing information

Rock lobster are highly sought after by recreational fishers who use pots and rings and also dive to catch this species.  Popular baits used include fish heads and frames and occasionally raw meats.  They are opportunistic carnivores consuming species such as mussels, abalone, sea urchins, crabs and worms.  Predators of rock lobster include octopus, sharks and fish species such as wrasse, ling and cod.

Handling

Handle lobsters carefully if they are soft-shelled or in berry. Be careful of sharp spines around the base of their antennae. Gently release undersized lobster back in the reef area where they were taken.

Public Health advice

Follow any public health alerts relating to eating wild shellfish - refer to the Department of Public Health or phone their hotline on 1800 671 738.

Cooking

Rock lobster has firm, white meat with a rich medium flavour.  It has a low oil content and is suitable to simmer, steam, grill or barbeque.

It is considered a delicacy by many Tasmanians.

Humane killing of rock lobster

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

(Step 1): Freezer chill lobster in air at deep freeze temperatures of -13 degrees Celsius 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.

Recipe: Fresh Boiled Rock Lobster
Chill the live rock lobster down in the freezer for an hour to render it unconscious. Cook by boiling it in a large pot in clean seawater. If saltwater is not available, make salted tapwater by adding one tablespoon salt for every litre of water.

Boiling times:

  • 600-800 grams: 9 to 10 minutes
  • 800-1000 grams: 11 to 12 minutes
  • 1 kilo: 12 minutes
  • For every 100 grams over 1 kg add another minute
  • 2 kilos +: 22 minutes
  • For every 100 grams over 2 kilograms, add another 45 seconds

The lobster is properly cooked when the shell turns a brighter red and the meat is creamy white with no translucent areas. Put the lobster in a bowl of ice to stop the cooking process. Plunging it in cold water can let water into the body cavity, diluting the fresh lobster flavour.

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