With around 25,000 people taking about 400,000 individual rock lobsters annually, rock lobster fishing represents a major recreational activity. It provides an important social benefit to the WA community.
Most recreational rock lobster fishing occurs in inshore coastal waters between North West Cape and Augusta, mainly off the Perth metropolitan area and Geraldton.
The recreational catch is managed through a combination of measures including bag, size and possession limits.
Recreational fishers must have a licence to fish for any species of rock lobster and produce it when requested to by a Fisheries and Marine Officer. Gear specifications apply.
It is prohibited to sell or use recreationally caught rock lobster for any gain or reward (including barter or exchange for other goods or services).
For rock lobster bag and size limits, see the tables below.
Statewide catch limits
The following limits are for all rock lobster species (Panulirus and Jasus spp.) combined.
Bag limit (maximum Statewide)
8 per fisher, per day
This means the maximum number of rock lobsters you may have in your possession, even if they were not all taken from the sea on the same day. A possession limit of 24 rock lobsters per person applies, including at your permanent place of residence.
This means the maximum number of rock lobsters you may carry on a boat. If there is only one person on board, the maximum number is one day's bag limit (8). If there are two people on board, it is two days' bag limit (16). If there are three or more people on board, it is three days' bag limit (24).
Rock lobster pots
There is a limit of two rock lobster pots per licensed fisher. Pulling someone else’s pots is not permitted.
In all regions six pots may be pulled when there are three or more licensed fishers on board. No more than six pots may be pulled per boat trip. No more than six pots may be carried on a boat at any time.
You may not fish for rock lobster using any bovine material (other than gelatine or tallow), any skin or hide, anything to which any mammal skin or hide is attached, any abalone material or any lobster material.
If you are fishing in certain areas you are required to fit sea lion exclusion devices (SLED) to your pots. For more information see sea_lion_exclusion_devices.pdf
Divers may only catch rock lobster by hand, or by a hand-held snare or blunt crook. Spears, nets and similar devices that can damage rock lobster are illegal. Diving for rock lobster is now permitted at the Abrolhos Islands.
The open season dates vary according to the location. Fishing for rock lobster outside of these dates is not permitted.
Between North West Cape (21°44’S latitude) and Black Point (115°30’E longitude)
Season open 15 October – 30 June
South Coast (east of 115°30’E longitude)
Season open 15 November – 30 June
Season open 15 March – 30 June
North of North West Cape (21°44’S latitude)
All species of lobster may be taken all year.
Legal sizes for taking rock lobsters – Statewide combined
|Southern rock lobster
Tropical rock lobsters:
|N/A (for either)|
|Western rock lobster
95 mm North-West Cape – Green Head
105 mm Green Head – Cape Leeuwin
For more information see the Recreational fishing for rock lobster guide.