Annual Fishing Closure lifted: Rock Lobster Can Now Be Caught Year Round

Recreational lobster fishers can now look forward to catching this popular species year round with Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly today announcing a 12 month season for recreational rock lobster  fishing.

This change comes about following advice from Recfishwest’s Rock Lobster Reference Group who were keen to improve winter fishing opportunities, particularly for those fishing in the Mid-West and Gascoyne regions, including the Abrolhos Islands.

Calm weather windows are common in the Mid-West and Gascoyne regions during winter, making for safer fishing for everyone.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said this change to the rules comes about through good management of this fishery with the opportunity to expand the fishing season supported by the latest stock assessment.

“With biological sustainability well in hand comes the opportunity to provide the community with an even greater return from this fishery”

“Such a healthy stock allows fisheries managers to focus on optimising the fishing experiences”

“A feed of fresh crayfish is an amazing Western Australia experience with more people getting on the water and catching their own seafood.”

This announcement builds on other positive changes to recreational lobster rules over the past few years to ensure people’s fishing experiences are maximised and the rules are as simple and as practical as possible, including:

  • In October 2017, lobster rules changes allowed fishers to keep lobster in Setose condition;
  • Divers now have 5 minutes to sort their lobster catch in the safety of their boat;
  • Fishers can keep lobster tails at home – Previously, the law required lobsters to be kept and stored whole (with head and tail) unless they were being prepared for immediate consumption.
  • Two people can share a lobster pot – meaning greater participation and enjoyment for everyone.

The introduction of year round fishing will also require some slight changes for those who use pots.

Recreational lobster pots will now have to be rigged in a similar fashion to commercial pots to mitigate the potential risk of interaction with migrating whales.

Any pot using more than 20m of rope will be required to hold the top half of the rope vertically in the water column.  This can be achieved by using sinking rope on the top half of the pot rope, or by simply attaching a weight such as a fishing sinker half way down the rope.  Additionally, a maximum of two floats will apply on recreational pots.

“Recreational fishers are the stewards of the marine environment, and are happy to do their bit to minimise any interaction with protected species” Dr Rowland said.

“As well as reducing chances of whale interaction, these measures will reduce the likelihood of rope entangling in boat propellers and loss of ropes from propeller cut-off when excess is left floating on the surface. It’s a win-win”.

Learn how to make your pots compliant by watching the video on You Tube here or on the Recfishwest Facebook Page.

To view the updated rules, click here.

See the Ministers media release here: