A special trial has been launched to allow more Western Australians gain access to our world-renowned western rock lobsters.
Commercial fishing plays an important role in the WA economy with the value of the West Coast Rock Lobster Fishery worth more than $400 million and with the majority of the six thousand tonnes caught by the fishery exported to China at premium prices.
However, concerns have been raised about the local availability of rock lobster to WA’s coastal communities and local seafood restaurants.
So from 15 December through to 30 April next year, a trial will enable each active commercial western rock lobster fisher to catch 50 extra lobsters that can be sold directly to the local WA market and not for export.
The trial will generate around eight tonnes of western rock lobsters for sale in the local market and will not impact on the sustainability of the fishery. The State's western rock lobster fishery is the first in the world to be certified through the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and has held its certification for more than 16 years.
Consumers will be able to purchase the local access lobsters at market cost directly from the commercial west coast rock lobster fishers' boats, with some also potentially available in local restaurants and/or fish retailers.
To participate in the trial, commercial fishers will need to collect ‘Local Access Lobster Tags’ which will be available from our offices at Mandurah, Fremantle, Hillarys, Lancelin, Jurien Bay and Geraldton – although these offices will be closed between 23 December and 3 January.
Commercial fishers can find out more about the trial, including how to insert the tags on their catch and how to record sales of the lobster, in these frequently asked questions while more information for consumers can be found in this fact sheet.
After the trial is completed, we will evaluate its success in consultation with the Western Rock Lobster Council.