East Coast Rock Lobster Stock Rebuilding Strategy
Rock Lobster Season Opening Dates for the ECSRZ
The dates for the 2019 rock lobster East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone (ECSRZ) season will be:
- The recreational sector will open on
Saturday 7 December 2019 and close 30 April 2020; and
- The commercial sector will open on
Tuesday 10 December 2019.
As part of the package of measures approved a number of other initiatives will be progressed and considered including:
- Development of a Recreational Sea Fishing Strategy which will address:
- Resource access and sustainability;
- Modernising compliance to fairly manage access for Tasmanians, and including the increasing numbers of fishing tourists; and
- Research priorities to guide future policy and decision-making.
- Investigate options to further optimise and increase the East Coast translocation program to support stock rebuilding; and
- Social and economic assessment of the East Coast commercial rock lobster fishery.
What is the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Strategy?
The East Coast Stock Rebuilding Strategy aims to rebuild rock lobster stocks to greater than 20% of an unfished stock by limiting the amount of lobsters harvested each year from the area.
East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone Map
The East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone (ECSRZ) is the area between Eddystone Point and Tasman Head on Bruny Island.
The East Coast Rock Lobster Stock Rebuilding Zone is the area between Eddystone Point near St Helens and Tasman Head on Bruny Island.
Summary of the Strategy
Rock lobster stocks on the East Coast reached historically low levels during 2011-12. In response, a strategy to rebuild stocks in this area was developed.
What is the Goal?
Rebuild rock lobster stocks to greater than 20% of the unfished stock (or virgin biomass) by 2023.
What is the Strategy?
Leave more rock lobster in the water to rebuild by limiting the total catch each year between Eddystone Point and Tasman Head.
This area is called the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone (ECSRZ).
What are the benefits for recreational fishers?
Higher stock levels will mean better catch rates for fishers. More rock lobster will help limit numbers of long-spined sea urchins in healthy kelp beds and reduce the risk of barrens forming.
How is the recreational catch limited?
To reduce the recreational catch, bag limits and seasons have been decreased. Surveys of licensed fishers in the Eastern Region monitor the total recreational catch each year.
How is the commercial catch limited?
A catch cap or maximum commercial catch trigger is set for the East Coast each year. When the catch approaches the trigger, the commercial fishery in the ECSRZ closes until the following March.
How do we know if the Strategy is working?
IMAS report the biomass for each stock assessment area in annual stock assessments so the progress towards achieving the 20% goal can be monitored. To keep the strategy on track, further management changes may be introduced.
Read the Strategy Document
An initial strategy document detailing goals, regional management initiatives and monitoring was released in 2013, then updated in 2017.
East Coast Stock Rebuilding Strategy - September 2018
For related rock lobster catch and research information including recent recreational catch estimates and an information paper on catch tags for the Tasmanian recreational fishery go to:
Recreational Rock Lobster Research