Recreational Rock Lobster and Abalone Research

Recreational Rock Lobster & Abalone Fisheries: 2018-19 Catch Estimates

Title: Tasmanian Recreational Rock Lobster & Abalone Fisheries 2018-19 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 the phone/diary method, where potential participants are initially contacted by phone then issued a diary to personally record their fishing activities.  Participants are 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.

Rock Lobster Summary - Season 2018-19

More than 18,000 people held the following rock lobster licences in 2018-19:
  • 15,200 pot
  • 8,600 dive; and
  • 4,400 ring.
The annual IMAS survey of rock lobster licensees for the period 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019 reported:
  • An estimated total catch of 70,100 rock lobster equating to 75 tonnes.
  • 62% of the total catch was taken by potting, 37% by diving and 1% by rings.
  • The average catch rate was 0.96 lobsters per day with daily harvest rates for diving (1.67 lobster) more than double that for pots (0.74 lobster).
  • 72% of the catch (by weight) was taken from the East Coast, 18% North Coast and 10% from the West Coast.
The catch in the East Coast Stock Rebuilding Zone was estimated at 49 tonnes, 20% over the notional amount for the recreational fishery in this area.

Abalone Summary - Season 2018-19

There were 11,000 recreational abalone licence holders. The survey reported 45,000 abalone (21 tonnes) were taken between 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019.  62 % of the catch (13 tonnes) was taken between Eddystone Point and Southport.  The average catch rate was 4.5 per day.

For Stock Assessment Reports for the Tasmanian rock lobster and abalone fisheries, please see the Publications & Resources page on the IMAS website.

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.


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.

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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