East Coast Rock Lobster Stock Rebuilding Strategy

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.

Season 2018-19 Opening Dates

The season opening dates have been delayed for both the recreational and commercial fisheries in the ERSRZ

Recreational Fishery:


Recreational rock lobster 2018 season opening dates

Delaying the opening date in the ECSRZ until Saturday, 8 December 2018 for the recreational season aims to constrain the recreational catch to 41 tonnes. 

Areas in the Eastern Region other than the ECSRZ will now open at the same time as the Western Region on Saturday, 3 November 2018.  This means areas north of Eddystone Point around to Point Sorell including Flinders Island, and waters south of Bruny Island will open three weekends earlier than last year.

See all Recreational Season Dates

Transiting Seasonally Closed Areas

You cannot possess pots, rings or rock lobster in any part of the ECSRZ including the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and waters between St Helens and Eddystone Point during the closed season for that area - see maps below for boundaries.

Due to high numbers of recreational fishers and the need for effective policing, there are no transiting provisions in place for the recreational fishery.

DEntrecasteaux Channel East Coast Stock Rebuilding Boundary

D'Entrecasteaux Channel - ECSRZ boundary

Eddystone Point ECSRZ Boundary

Eddystone Point - ECSRZ Boundary

The ECSRZ boundary line at Eddystone Point is through the Eddystone Point Lighthouse at 40° 59' 35" S.


DEntrecasteaux East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone boundary

DEntrecasteaux East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone boundary

Commercial Fishery:

The ECSRZ commercial fishery opening date has been delayed two weeks until Tuesday 11 December, three days after the recreational open date, providing a three day buffer between the two sectors. 

All waters outside the ECSRZ will open to commercial fishing on Thursday 15 November. This means areas in the Eastern Region north of Eddystone Point around to Point Sorell including Flinders Island, and waters south of Bruny Island will revert to opening on 15 November, two weeks earlier than last year. 

The commercial catch within the ECSRZ is explicitly limited by the east coast catch cap, not by seasonal closures.


Commercial rock lobster 2018 season opening dates

See all Commercial Season Dates

Summary of the Strategy

The Problem

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   (2Mb)


Further information

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.

Contact

Wild Fisheries Management Branch
1 Franklin Wharf
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3000, 1300 368 550
Email: fishing.enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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