Rock Lobster Fishing

​​​​​​​​NOTE: Changes to rock lobster management will apply from 1 November 2019. See the rock lobster review page.

Southern Rock Lobster Illustration by Peter GouldthorpeThe following rules apply to both southern rock lobster and eastern (green) rock lobster which are also referred to in Tasmania as crayfish.


A rock lobster dive licence allows you to take rock lobster by hand, a rock lobster pot licence to use one pot and a rock lobster ring licence to use up to four rings.

You must be 10 years or older to hold a rock lobster licence.  The licence holder must personally set and retrieve any rock lobster fishing gear and another person may assist them if needed e.g. to lift the pot. See the licensing page for more information.

Special rock lobster licence

The holder of a recreational rock lobster licence can buy a special rock lobster licence that allows you to possess 15 rock lobster in the Western Region and on mainland Tasmania for a 14 day period nominated by the fisher. During this 14 day period, you are not allowed to fish for rock lobster in the Eastern Region. Daily bag limits and boat limits still apply.

Aboriginal fishing

Aboriginal persons engaged in aboriginal fishing are exempt from holding a fishing licence but must comply with all other rules. Where gear must be marked with a licence number, Aboriginal fishers should use a unique identifying code. More information on Aboriginal fishing.


See the Recreational Fishing Seasons page for current open and closed season dates.

Setting gear at season opening

You can only possess a rock lobster pot on State fishing waters from 6am the day before the season opens and only set a pot after 1pm on the same day. Pots can then be pulled after midnight. 

Size limits

There are different minimum size limits for male and female rock lobster:
  • Male 110 mm
  • Female 105 mm

How to tell the difference between male and female rock lobster.

Get a free rock lobster measuring gauge at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Bag and possession limits

Different regional and statewide daily bag, possession limits, boat limits and boat gear limits apply depending on whether you are licensed or not and they apply everywhere, including your home.

If you have a recreational rock lobster pot, ring or dive licence, you can have:
  • a daily bag limit of 2 rock lobster in the Eastern Region, 5 rock lobster in the Western Region and 2 rock lobster in northern Bass Strait;
  • a possession limit of 4 rock lobster in the Eastern Region, 10 rock lobster in the Western Region and 4 rock lobster in northern Bass Strait;
  • a possession limit of 10 applies on mainland Tasmania, islands in the Western Region and on Flinders, Cape Barren and Bruny Islands including homes, shacks and vehicles.
  • a non-licensed possession limit of 0 rock lobster on state fishing waters and 2 rock lobster on land.
  • Eastern Region possession limits apply within 100 metres of unloading any rock lobster, except where the fisher's shack or home is within the 100 metres; and
  • Special Rock Lobster licence holders can have a possession limit of 15 rock lobster (in the Western Region and on mainland Tasmania only) for the 14 day period of the licence.

If you are on State waters with more than the daily bag limit, you must prove you have fished for more than one day eg. an extended or overnight trip. 

If you don't have a rock lobster licence, you can't possess lobster while on state waters or possess more than two lobster unless you have a receipt or the lobster has a commercial tag.

A child under 10 cannot possess rock lobster and any rock lobster held by that child are deemed to be in the possession of the supervising adult. A person with a special rock lobster licence can possess 15 lobsters during the 14 day licence period nominated by the fisher.
Illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe

Boat limits

Eastern Region: there is a boat limit of 10 rock lobster.

Western Region: there is a boat limit of 25 rock lobster.

The person in charge of the boat is responsible for adhering to boat limits.

Boat gear limits

A boat limit of 5 rock lobster pots and 20 rock lobster rings applies.

​Eating rock lobster at sea

You can cut up and eat one rock lobster for each licence holder on a boat. This rock lobster is included in your daily bag limit.

Transiting during Closed Seasons

During the closed season for a region, or part of a region (eg. the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone) recreational fishers cannot, in the closed area:
  • possess rock lobster or rock lobster pots or rings, or
  • travel by water with rock lobster or rock lobster gear aboard to access open waters.

This has been in place for several years for resource management purposes.

Transiting Biotoxin Regions - Eastern Region

You can transit through closed rock lobster biotoxin zones to fish in opern waters for example: after the season opens in the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone, you can transit with rock lobster gear and rock lobsters through a biotoxin zone which is still closed for biotoxin reasons. You can also have a rock lobster pot in a closed Biotoxin Zone from 6am on the day before the season opens.

In a closed biotoxin zone you cannot:
  • take rock lobster;
  • dive for lobster, be in the water and possess rock lobster; or
  • set pots or rings.
Provided the Eastern Region season (or parts thereof) are open, fishers can transit back from the Western Region to the Eastern Region open areas with rock lobster providing they comply with Eastern Region bag limits before proceeding past Whale Head or Point Sorell.

Tagged and specially marked rock lobster

  • You cannot possess specially-marked research rock lobsters, which have either two separate holes of at least 5 mm in diameter in the tail fan, two coloured lines on the underside of the tail or a blue T-bar tag with the words TAFI Research - Illegal to Take.
  • You can keep other tagged rock lobster.

Illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe


Recreational Fishing Enquiries
Recreational Fisheries Section
1 Franklin Wharf
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

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