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.


East coast rock lobster translocation areas 2015- 2022

East coast rock lobster translocation areas 2015- 2022

​​Release locations

A total of 229,500  lobsters have been translocated to sites from Eddystone Point to Tasman Island. 

The release locations for each year are shown on the map.

West Coast Translocation

The TRLFA is also undertaking 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.






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

More information

For season opening dates see Recreational Seasons or Commercial Seasons.

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
Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au