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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
​          W​estern rock lobster
Friday 28 October 2022

French fishers catch up on how WA's rock lobster industry works

This week Western Australia has played host to eight fishermen and a facilitator from France, who’ve spent time in workshops and field trips around Perth to get to know more about our western rock lobster fishery.

The fishers live and work in and around the port city of Brest, located in a sheltered bay in the Brittany region of Western France and run family-based operations in a mixed fishery, catching several species of lobster, crab, octopus and fish.

French delegation facilitator Serge Gomes da Silva said the fishers had been inspired by what they’d seen in WA.

“Volumes and trade figures here are obviously huge in comparison with our French fishery, but the commitment and investment of all parties involved in developing efficient management tools is truly inspiring,” he said.

The visiting fishers are placing a great priority on their cooperation project with Australia to sustain the dynamism of their regional lobster fisheries, trade experience between borders and involving local fishermen in the greater picture of resource management.

“We’ve been very interested in the management efforts and cooperation happening between WA’s Western Rock Lobster Council and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development,” Mr Gomes da Silva added.

“The tools developed in WA, like maximum economic yield, back of boat sales and a social licensing approach have been inspiring for our Brest fishery.” 

When they leave WA tomorrow, the French fishers will head for Tasmania to continue looking at research, management, and industry issues in our Australian lobster fisheries.

The species they catch off the French coast is the red lobster (Palinurus elephas), which more closely resembles the southern rock lobster caught in Tasmania.

“For instance, morphologically, they both have strong-powerful front legs which can be a problem while storing the individuals in tanks – they attack each other- and this requires specific care to avoid damaging the catch,” Mr Gomes da Silva said. “We will see those in Launceston and Hobart in the second part of our trip.” 

Their Australian visit was funded by a Community Led Local Development Program of the European Union and the Region Bretagne. It was aimed at showcasing the highly regulated and productive fisheries of WA and Tasmania and the work being done to anticipate lobster stock productivity by improving knowledge on juvenile management. 

Serge Gomes da Silva (with camera) and some of the French fishers and DPIRD staff capturing an up-close moment with a western rock lobster at Geraldton Fishermen's Co-operative’s Brolos export facility in Welshpool.

Last modified: 28/10/2022 7:17 PM

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