Moves afoot to change the way WA crayfish are managed

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly recently made an announcement about changes to the way crayfish stocks are to be managed in WA.

Below is a media statement released by Recfishwest on 11 December, as well as updated information published on the 19 December. Please be sure to read information from across the timeline to ensure you are kept up to date on the issue.

Update: 19 December 2018

While the Ministers announcement relates to the commercial quota available for harvest, Recfishwest will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that recreational fishing experiences are not impacted by a reduction in nearshore abundances of crays.

Updates from the Western Rock Lobster Council can be found here.

Recfishwest Media Statement – 10 December, 2018

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly made an announcement on Saturday about changes to the way crayfish stocks are to be managed in WA.

In a statement, the Minister said the Government and the industry’s peak body, Western Rock Lobster (Council), have agreed on the broad terms of a development package that will “grow the industry to provide more benefits to the Western Australian community”.

The Minister said the Government is looking to change current management to provide the state with the best return from the community owned Western Rock Lobster resource.  In doing so, the Government is considering a plan to increase the annual catch of crayfish by 1,700 tonnes over the next five years to improve revenue to the State Government and increase local lobster supplies.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said high numbers of crayfish close to shore in the last few years have significantly increased the catchability for recreational fishers which has lead to record high participation rates.

“In recent years fishing experiences for recreational fishers had been boosted and participation has grown to almost 60,000 licence holders thanks to high abundances of crayfish on inshore reefs,” Dr Rowland said.

While details of any future management changes are yet to be decided, Dr Rowland believes that any new arrangements must ensure people have the best chance to catch crays whenever they go fishing.

“Increasing commercial exploitation of inshore stocks at popular fishing areas must be avoided to protect the current high-quality fishing the community is experiencing.”

“Recfishwest believes this inshore portion of the stock must be carefully managed and protected so WA locals who enjoy fishing with the friends and family can continue to enjoy good catches.”

“There is much more to fisheries management than simply the sustainable exploitation of a resource for economic gain, it’s also about managing the stock to ensure high abundance in the right areas.”

“Good management needs to protect rec fishing opportunities so the WA public can continue to enjoy catching their own fresh seafood,” he said.

Despite the recreational fishing sector not being included in any discussions to date regarding future plans, the Minister has assured Recfishwest that a process will be put in place so the views of the recreational fishers can be considered.

“While the current situation creates more questions than answers, Recfishwest will now be involved in discussions going forward, and will continue to provide the rec fishing community with updates.” Dr Rowland said.


Media Contact: Matt Gillett, 9246 3366 or

Fact File:

  • Close to 60,000 recreational rock lobster licence are issued in WA each year;
  • Every year the government receives approximately $2 million from recreational Rock Lobster licence fees;
  • The recreational fishing sector is allocated 5% of the state’s Rock Lobster resource;
  • The Minister has confirmed there will be no changes to recreational fishing rules as part of this most recent announcement;
  • More information on this issue can be found on the links below:
    • To read the Ministers 8 December media statement click here
    • To read the Western Rock Lobster Councils media statement click here
    • To read WAFIC’s media statement click here.