Recreational Rock Lobster, Abalone and Scallop Research

​​​D'Entrecasteaux Channel Scallop Survey 2017

Title: D'Entrecasteaux Channel Scallop Survey and Stock Status: 2017

Lead Agency: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

The 2017 scallop survey found:

  • Commercial and doughboy scallops remain in very low densities in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
  • While moderate densities of queen scallops are present they are restricted to small and isolated beds in the central Channel region.  There is evidence of a number of cohorts in the queen scallop population, suggesting some limited recruitment in recent years.  The dominant size class is in the 80-90 mm size range and there are relatively few individuals larger than 100 mm.
  • The low standing stock of legal-sized queen scallops, overall limited area of the main beds and very low abundances of both commercial and doughboy scallops provide no scientific basis upon which to expect any recovery of stocks that would justify a scallop fishery in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel for at least the next 3-5 years.

Download the report.   

Rock Lobster & Abalone Fishery - 2016-17 Catch Estimates

Title: Tasmanian Recreational Rock Lobster and Abalone Fisheries 2016-17 Fishing Season
Lead Agency: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

IMAS reports annually on the recreational rock lobster and abalone fishing seasons with information derived from surveying a proportion of licence holders.  The report contains estimates of catch and days fished by fishing methods and area, and social information including attitudes about perceived stock status, fishing quality and management.  

The survey method used is often termed the phone/diary method, as potential participants are initially contacted by phone, issued a diary to personally record their fishing activities.  Participants are then contacted throughout the season by a trained interviewer who records the fishing activity details. The methodology has been confirmed by an international, independent expert as the most cost effective way of accurately estimating rock lobster catch.

Download the report.

Recreational Rock Lobster Fishery 2016/17 Season – Key Points

There were 18,000 individuals who held a Rock Lobster licence - 15,200 pot, 8,000 dive and 4,400 ring.

For the period 1 November 2016 to 30 April 2017 IMAS reported:

  • An estimated total recreational catch of 87,650 lobster equating to 87.9 tonnes.
  • 68% of the total catch taken by pot; 29% by dive, and 3% ring. 
  • The average catch rate was 1.07 lobster per day fished - 0.87 for pots, 1.90 for dive, and 1.88 for rings.
  • 43% of active fishers retained 1-5 lobsters for the period; 6% took more than 20.
  • The total recreational catch was 52% of the total allowable recreational catch (TARC) of 170 tonnes.

Just over 50 tonnes, almost 60% of the total recreational catch was taken from the East Coast (Eddystone Point to Southport).  This exceeds the recreational notional catch share of 42 tonnes, as outlined in the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Strategy by 8.2 tonnes.  This compared with an “under-catch" of 6.3 tonnes in 2015-16 and an “over-catch" of 13.6 tonnes in 2014-15.  The lower catch in 2015-16 was influenced by extensive biotoxin closures.

Respondents were asked a range of questions relevant to the management and state of the Rock Lobster fishery, key findings included:

  • most active fishers suggested that the quality of the fishery had improved or was at least similar to the 2015-16 season; 
  • The vast majority of fishers indicated that, when fishing for lobster, they also do other types of fishing, most commonly inshore line fishing
  • Almost three-quarters of respondents indicated they would pursue other types of fishing (other than rock lobster) if there was an extended closure period, while 18% indicated they would delay doing any fishing until the rock lobster season opened.

Recreational Abalone Fishery 2016/17 Season– Key Points

There were 11,170 recreational abalone licence holders.
  • Recreational fishers harvested an estimated 47,522 abalone, equating to an estimated at 21.6 tonnes, equivalent to 1% of the combined recreational and commercial catch.
  • Blacklip Abalone accounted for 70% and Greenlip Abalone 30% of the total numbers.
  • 60% of abalone were taken from the East Coast, 25 % from the North and 10% from the West Coast.
  • About one in five dives resulted in the daily bag limit of 10 abalone being taken; the overall average daily harvest rate was 4.9 abalone. 
  • There are currently no explicit performance indicators relating to the recreational fishery for abalone.

Catch Tags for the Tasmanian Recreational Rock Lobster Fishery - Information Paper

Catch tags have been promoted by some rock lobster fishery stakeholders as a potential solution for managing the recreational take of rock lobster on the state’s east coast.

DPIPWE officers undertook a comprehensive assessment of catch tags, including a cost benefit analysis of their application. The assessment included examining the application of catch tags in other jurisdictions both in Australia and overseas.

The assessment found that the catch tags would be:

  • costly to implement and administer and;
  • unlikely to constrain the recreational rock lobster catch in the Eastern Region.

Download the report.

D'Entrecasteaux Channel Scallop Assessment Report 2006-2012

D'Entrecasteaux Scallop Report CoverTitle: Assessment of scallop populations in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel 2006-2012
Lead Agency: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

A fishery assessment report outlines the status of scallop populations in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel between 2006-2012. IMAS conducts recreational scallop fishery surveys every two years.

The D’Entrecasteaux Channel was closed to recreational fishing in 2011 and 2012 due to an assessment of low stocks and poor recruitment. This report summarises the findings of the IMAS dive surveys of scallop populations in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel from 2006 - 2012.

The dive surveys have been designed to provide basic population information on the scallop stocks, including relative trends in population size.

Download the report.

Scallop Recruitment in the Entrecasteaux Channel

Title: Post-settlement processes affecting Commercial Scallop recruitment in south-eastern Tasmania
Lead Agency: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
Date: September 2013

The aim of the study was to gain understanding about factors affecting recruitment of scallops, focusing on processes occurring at or shortly after settlement.

Specific aims included:

1. Role of habitat structure and sediment type on scallop densities.
2. Assess the relationships between dispersal and growth of recently settled scallops and site characteristics
3. Identify the main factors affecting survival of newly settled scallops.

Download the report.

Recruitment and Retention of Scallops in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel

IMAS ReportTitle: Recruitment and retention of scallops in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel: Is there a relationship with scallop density?
Lead Agency: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
Date: 1 September 2008 - 27 June 2013

The aim of the project was to provide necessary information to enable the current management of the recreational scallop fishery to be evaluated in a valid way.
Specific aims:
  1. Examine the importance of scallop density (spawner biomass) on synchronisation of spawning and recruitment success.
  2. Examine the relationship between scallop density and retention of recruits on scallop beds.
  3. Determine the origin of scallop recruits in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.
Final Report Summary
The research confirmed that the commercial scallop (Pecten fumatus) in the Channel are genetically different than those on the East Coast. This indicates that the Channel is "self seeding" and reliant on scallop stock populations from within the Channel. This highlights the importance of protecting areas of high density spawning stock to increase the likelihood of steady and/or significant recruitment pulses for the Channel.

Download the report.

Understanding Interactions and Competition over Rock Lobster Resource Access, Tasman Peninsula

East Coast Rock Lobster Fishery Report cover Title: Understanding Interactions and Competition over Rock Lobster Resource Access off the East Coast of Tasmania, June 2012
Lead Agency: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

The objectives of the research were to:
  1. Map and analyse the ground holding and gear setting behaviour of rock lobster fishers at selected sites along the Tasman Peninsula coastline.
  2. Describe rock lobster fisher decision making inputs regarding pot placement during peak periods and throughout the season.
  3. Identify perceptions of resource sharing and fisher preferences for management approaches to resource sharing between the recreational and commercial sectors.
Download the report.

Recreational Rock Lobster Survey Methodology Peer Review

Title: Review of the Telephone Diary Survey of the Tasmanian Recreational Rock Lobster Fishery
Lead Agency: Tasmanian Association for Recreational Fishing Inc. (TARFish)

  • Identify world's best practice methodology for recreational rock lobster catch estimation with resultant costs, benefits, capabilities, resources and limitations.
  • Identify areas where the current methodology can be improved given the available finite resources.
  • Understand if there are more cost effective methods available that provide the required confidence levels (statistical accuracy).
  • Evaluation of the current survey may assist TAFI in improving the survey in terms of scientific robustness.
  • All fishery stakeholders should have confidence in the survey outcomes and understand its capabilities, limitations and restrictions.
  • Identify the levels of estimated costs and methodologies associated with increasing the confidence levels (statistical accuracy) to a maximum of +/-5% of the estimated annual catch.
  • Understand the cost implications of having the same statistical accuracy for each of the 8 rock lobster areas.
  • Identify the optimum survey frequency given management plan and fishery assessment requirements. Should the survey be undertaken every 2 years or should it be aligned with Rule Reviews and fishery assessment needs.
  • Identify a recommended methodology that optimises resources and minimises diminishing returns.


Recreational Fisheries Manager
Rod Pearn
Wild Fisheries Management Branch
1 Franklin Wharf
Phone: 03 6165 3034

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