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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 31 March 2023

Get your new recreational rock lobster fishing guide

The Rock Lobster Recreational fishing guide has been updated to include recent changes made to the landing and possession of rock lobster plus information to help you “pot” your fair share.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has now simplified the rules around possession of recreationally caught rock lobsters, while ensuring there are adequate rules to help enforce bag and size limits.

This means fishing regulations have been amended to generally allow a person to possess lobster tails once on land however, rock lobster must still be in whole form when on a boat unless it is being prepared for immediate consumption.

The intent of the changes allows for a person to take rock lobster tails to a friend’s house for consumption, but still allowing fishers to take out lobster heads for bait or burley use. DPIRD consulted with Recfishwest and its Rock Lobster Reference Group on these changes and there was strong support for them.   

Principal Fisheries Management Officer for DPIRD, Rebecca Oliver said the rule changes were a positive outcome for recreational fishers. 

“Because both commercial and recreational fishers are also required to return totally protected species to the water before the next pot is pulled or before a diver catches any further lobsters, we are also drawing the attention of fishers to catch care,” Ms Oliver said.

“The new fishing guide has key tips on the importance of catch care for rock lobsters because it’s important to increase the chance of survival for any that need to be returned to the water. Poor handling of lobsters can affect growth of the individual and increase their vulnerability to predation.

“We urge fishers to return any protected lobsters within five minutes. If they’re undersize, carrying eggs or are tarspot lobsters, they have better survivability if they are not exposed to air for more than five minutes. Catch care is important to also prevent damage to legs or exposure to heat.”
“Other fishing rules including the state-wide requirement to hold a current recreational fishing licence for the take of all lobster species remain the same.” 

 Western Rock Lobster. Its scientific name is Panulirus cygnus

Like Western rock lobster, the ornate and painted Tropical rock lobsters all have a minimum legal; size (carapace length) of 76mm, but for the Southern rock lobsters they must have a minimum carapace length of 98.5mm before they can be taken by fishers.   

State-wide, the maximum bag limit is eight per licensed fisher, of which no more than four can be tropical rock lobsters.   

Last modified: 31/03/2023 3:21 PM

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