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Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) Commercial Fisheries Information

Commercial Fishing for Southern Rock Lobster:

lobster pots, crayfish potsThe commercial fishery for Southern Rock Lobster is based mainly in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.  The lobsters are caught in wood, cane or steel pots baited with whole fish or fish heads.  Pot shapes vary from beehive to square and rectangular.   The entrance to the pots is on the upper surface.  Pots are set in water up to 200 metres deep on suitable sea beds.  Approximately half the Southern Rock Lobster catch is exported, mainly to Japan, Taiwan and the United States of America.

Tasmania’s rock lobster fishery is managed as a single zone with commercial catch currently harvested from all areas around the State at an annual rate of approximately 1.6 million animals.

Rock lobster processed in Tasmania is exported to the mainland or directly overseas as live, fresh product. Export of live product has increased dramatically since the late 1980s, while exports of cooked product have declined.

In 2006/07, rock lobster was Australia’s top export by value ($463 million) and Hong Kong the top export market. Other primary markets for rock lobster include Japan, the United States, China and Chinese Taipei

Scientific Name Jasus edwardsii
Location Southern Half of Australia
Season October to April
Size To 200mm carapace length.
Australian Species Code 00 703014
Taste, Texture -

harvesting southern rock lobster, commercial fishery rock lobster, jasus edwardsii, crayfish

Photo Credit: NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council

The lobster is harvested by skilled fishermen from boats around the entire Tasmanian coastline.

After harvesting, the premium lobster is carefully processed through operations that are meticulously controlled to ensure the very highest standards of health, hygiene and quality, to ensure that product reaches its destination in perfect condition and in line with customers requirements.

The Tasmanian rock lobster fishery has been sustainably managed for over 120 years and has been an important component of the State’s fishing industry for over 150 years. Throughout that time fishermen and their boats needed to be licensed.

From the 1884 fishermen were required to observe a minimum size and to fish only in prescribed seasons with specified gear. Since 1926 the number of traps that could be used from a boat was also limited. Following World War II fishermen began to build bigger boats and use the most modern technology to find and catch lobsters and as a result landings increased.

In 1967 the number of fishing licenses was limited to restrain excessive development. However fishing pressure soon increased again as more sophisticated technology was introduced and in 1998 individual transferable quotas were introduced under a total allowable catch, while size limits, limited entry and gear restrictions were also retained. Stocks have already rebuilt under these new regulations and the future of the fishery is very secure.

Map showing areas in Australian Waters where Rock Lobsters are found.Rock Lobster Commercial Fishing Data for 2010 / 2011 (Australia)
In 2009–10, the value of rock lobster production decreased by 11 per cent ($46 million) to
$368.8 million, following a 21 per cent decrease in the volume of rock lobster production.
Rock lobsters are caught mainly in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
In 2009–10, rock lobster production decreased by 2575 tonnes to 9628 tonnes as a result
of lower production in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, which collectively
accounted for 91 per cent of the Australian total volume of rock lobster production. The
decline was mainly attributable to the significant decreases in production in Western Australia
and South Australia. In 2009–10, rock lobster production from these two states combined fell
by 21 per cent (1946 tonnes) from 2008–09 to a total of 7501 tonnes.

Western Australian rock lobster has historically accounted for a larger share (about 60 per cent
on average) of the total value of Australian rock lobster production, while southern Australian
rock lobster generally accounted for over 30 per cent. However, since 2003–04, the relative
share of western rock lobster in value terms has declined compared with southern rock lobster.
The share of western rock lobster in value terms fell from 65 per cent in 2003–04 to 50 per cent
in 2009–10. In contrast, the share in value terms of southern rock lobster increased from
30 per cent to 45 per cent over the same period.

Between 2008–09 and 2009–10, catches of both species declined. Although western rock
lobster catch fell by 22 per cent (1690 tonnes), its value of production fell by only 4 per cent
because of a 23 per cent increase in the average beach price. Southern rock lobster catch
fell by a lesser amount, 365 tonnes (10 per cent). Combined with a 4 per cent decrease in its
average beach price, this resulted in the value of southern rock lobster production falling
by 14 per cent ($26.2 million) in 2009–10. Production of southern rock lobster and western
rock lobster contributed $165.5 million and $184.1 million, respectively, to the total value of
Australian rock lobster production in 2009–10.


Southern Rock Lobster - Jasus Edwardsii
Southern Rock Lobster - Jasus Edwardsii


packhorse lobster – Jasus verreauxi
Above is photo of Packhorse Lobster - – Jasus verreauxi, which is only found in NZ & eastern Australian waters.


Exporters of Southern Rock Lobster  |  Importers of Southern Rock Lobster  |  Processors of Southern Rock Lobster  |
Wholesale Suppliers of Southern Rock Lobster  |  Seafood Agents for Southern Rock Lobster


See Also Lobster  |  European Lobster  |  Homarus Lobster  |  Maine Lobster  |  Tropical Lobster  |  Rock Lobster  |  Slipper Lobster  |  Spiny Lobster  |  Western Rock Lobster 



See Also:
Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) Photographs and Information
Cooking Southern Rock Lobster | Recipes for Lobster
Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) Commercial Fisheries Information
Southern Rock Lobster Links & Resources


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