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Southern Rock Lobster

Jasus edwardsii

  • Adrian Linnane (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Caleb Gardner (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • David Reilly (Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victoria)
  • Jason How (Department of Fisheries, Western Australia)
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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia Southern Australia ESRLF, SCCMF, WHRLF,SRLF, VRLF, TRLF, SASRLF Sustainable Percentage of egg production relative to unfished level
ESRLF
Esperance Southern Rock Lobster Fishery (WA)
SASRLF
South Australian Southern Rock Lobster Fishery (SA)
SCCMF
South Coast Crustacean Managed Fishery (WA)
TRLF
Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery (TAS)
VRLF
Victorian Rock Lobster Fishery (VIC)
WHRLF,SRLF
Windy Harbour Rock Lobster Fishery, Southern Rock Lobster Fishery (WA)
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Stock Structure

Southern Rock Lobster is considered to be a single biological stock across southern Australia because the species occurs in a continuous distribution across this range and has extensive and protracted pelagic larval dispersal phase. The pelagic phyllosoma larval phase lasts around 12–18 months. Larval release occurs across the southern continental shelf, which is a high-current area, facilitating dispersal. Oceanographic modelling has also indicated that Southern Rock Lobster dispersal occurs over large spatial scales, indicating that there is a single biological stock. Genetic analyses also indicate that it is a single stock2.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the biological stock level—Southern Australia.

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Stock Status

Southern Australia

The stock status determination for Southern Rock Lobster is based on estimates of egg production from a combined stock assessment model3 for South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. A limit reference point for egg production is applied, which is 20 per cent of the unfished level. The most recent assessments for each jurisdiction estimate that combined egg production in 2014–15 was 21 per cent of the unfished level4–7. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment overfished.

Based on stock assessment results, total allowable commercial catches (TACCs) have been reduced across south-eastern Australia over the past decade to reduce fishing mortality to levels predicted to result in increases in biomass and catch rates. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Southern Australian biological stock is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Southern Rock Lobster biology8–10

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Southern Rock Lobster 20+ years; >200 mm CL  59–122 mm CL; depending on region
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Southern Rock Lobster

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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia Victoria Tasmania South Australia
Commercial
Various
Rock Lobster And Crayfish Traps And Pots
Indigenous
Diving
Rock Lobster And Crayfish Traps And Pots
Coastal, Estuary and River Set Nets
Recreational
Diving
Rock Lobster And Crayfish Traps And Pots
Coastal, Estuary and River Set Nets
Management methods
Method Western Australia Victoria Tasmania South Australia
Commercial
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Total allowable catch
Indigenous
Bag limits
Size limit
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Active vessels
Western Australia Victoria Tasmania South Australia
28 in WASCCF 70 in VRLF 209 in TRLF 203 in SASRLF
SASRLF
South Australian Southern Rock Lobster Fishery (SA)
TRLF
Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery (TAS)
VRLF
Victorian Rock Lobster Fishery (VIC)
WASCCF
Western Australian South Coast Crustacean Fisheries (WA)
Catch
Western Australia Victoria Tasmania South Australia
Commercial 24.63t in ESRLF, 7.20t in SCCMF, 13.08t in WHRLF,SRLF 281.00t in VRLF 1.07Kt in TRLF 1.56Kt in SASRLF
Indigenous Unknown Unknown Negligible Unknown
Recreational <5t Unknown Unknown Unknown
ESRLF
Esperance Southern Rock Lobster Fishery (WA)
SASRLF
South Australian Southern Rock Lobster Fishery (SA)
SCCMF
South Coast Crustacean Managed Fishery (WA)
TRLF
Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery (TAS)
VRLF
Victorian Rock Lobster Fishery (VIC)
WHRLF,SRLF
Windy Harbour Rock Lobster Fishery, Southern Rock Lobster Fishery (WA)

a Victoria – Indigenous In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing are also applied to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Recognised Traditional Owners (groups that hold native title or have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 [Vic]) are exempt (subject to conditions) from the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, and can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise customary fishing (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). The Indigenous category in Table 3 refers to customary fishing undertaken by recognised Traditional Owners. In 2014–15, there were no applications for customary fishing permits to access Southern Rock Lobster.b Indigenous (management methods) Subject to the defence that applies under Section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), and the exemption from a requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, the non-commercial take by indigenous fishers is covered by the same arrangements as that for recreational fishing

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Southern Rock Lobster

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Effects of fishing on the marine environment

  • In South Australia, concern has been expressed about potential interactions with Australian Sea Lions (Neophoca cinerea) in the fishery, specifically the risk of juvenile pups entering pots11. Sea lion excluder devices are now mandatory in pots in areas where interactions are likely to occur, such as the Northern Zone fishery of South Australia.
  • Whale entanglements are recognised as a management issue by the Victorian Southern Rock Lobster fishery management plan12. The fishery management plan responded with a fishery code of practice to prevent and respond to whale entanglements.
  • The biomass of Southern Rock Lobster is being rebuilt off eastern Tasmania using a regional limit on catch from recreational and commercial fishers combined. This is intended to assist rock lobsters maintain their ecosystem role including through predation of urchins13. Long Spined Urchins (Centrostephanus spp.) have extended their range southwards from New South Wales and can create barren patches of reef through overgrazing. Rebuilding of the Southern Rock Lobster biological stock may reduce barren formation.
  • Habitat impacts of gear have been researched and assessed as negligible risk14.
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Environmental effects on Southern Rock Lobster

  • The potential impact of climate change on recruitment, growth and mortality has been identified as a risk across the range of the species15. The wide distribution of the species provides resilience to climate change as environmental factors important to settlement of juveniles, such as current strength or temperature are not consistent from region to region16.
  • Recruitment, catchability and growth can vary substantially from year to year as a result of environmental changes, including changes in water temperature and movement of oceanic currents17. Below-average recruitment is not necessarily associated with low egg production—it can also result from unusual oceanographic patterns, which can affect larval survival, development and growth.
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References

  1. 1 Bruce, B, Griffin, D and Bradford, R 2007, Larval transport and recruitment processes of Southern Rock Lobster, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Project 2002/007, Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart.
  2. 2 Ovenden, JR, Brasher, DJ and White, R 1992, Mitochondrial DNA analyses of the Red Rock Lobster Jasus edwardsii supports an apparent absence of population subdivision throughout Australasia, Marine Biology, 112: 319–326.
  3. 3 Punt, AE, McGarvey, R, Linnane, A, Phillips, J, Triantafillos, L and Feenstra, J 2012, Evaluating empirical decision rules for Southern Rock Lobster fisheries: a South Australian example, Fisheries Research, 115–116: 60–71.
  4. 4 Hartmann, K, Gardner, C and Hobday, D 2013, Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery 2012–13, Fishery assessment report, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  5. 5 Linnane, A, McGarvey, R, Feenstra, J and Hawthorne, P 2015, Southern Zone Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) Fishery status report 2014–15, report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, South Australian Research and Development Institute publication F2007/000715-9, SARDI Research Report Series 880, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  6. 6 Linnane, A, McGarvey, R and Feenstra, J 2015, Northern Zone Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) Fishery status report 2014–15, report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, South Australian Research and Development Institute publication F2007/000714-9, SARDI research report series 879, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  7. 7 Linnane, A, McGarvey, R, McLeay, L, Feenstra, J and Reilly, D 2015, Victorian Rock Lobster and Giant Crab Fisheries status report—2013–2014 fishing year, fishery status report to Fisheries Victoria, South Australian Research and Development Institute publication F2012/000434-4, SARDI research report series 863, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  8. 8 Gardner, C, Frusher, S, Barrett, N, Haddon, M and Buxton, C 2006, Spatial variation in size at onset of maturity of female Southern Rock Lobster Jasus edwardsii around Tasmania, Australia, Scientia Marina, 70: 423–430.
  9. 9 Hobday, DK and Ryan, TJ 1997, Contrasting sizes at sexual maturity of Southern Rock Lobsters (Jasus edwardsii) in the two Victorian fishing zones: implications for total egg production and management, Marine and Freshwater Research, 48: 1009–1014.
  10. 10 Linnane, A, Penny, S and Ward, T 2008, Contrasting fecundity, size at maturity and reproductive potential of southern rock lobster Jasus edwardsii in two South Australian fishing regions, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 88: 583–589.
  11. 11 Goldsworthy, SD, Page, B, Shaughnessy, PD and Linnane, A 2010, Mitigating seal interactions in the SRLF and the Gillnet Sector SESSF in South Australia, report to the Fisheries Research and Development Institute, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), SARDI publication F2009/000613-1, SARDI Research Report Series 405, SARDI, Adelaide.
  12. 12 Victorian Department of Primary Industries 2009, Victorian Rock Lobster Fishery management plan, Fisheries Victoria Management Report Series 70, Victorian Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne.
  13. 13 Ling, SD, Johnson, CR, Frusher, SD and King, CK 2008, Reproductive potential of a marine ecosystem engineer at the edge of a newly expanded range, Global Change Biology, 14: 907–915.
  14. 14 Casement, D and Svane, I 1999, Direct effects of rock lobster pots on temperate shallow rocky reefs in South Australia: a study, report to the South Australian Rock Lobster industry, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Aquatic Sciences, Adelaide.
  15. 15 Pecl, G, Frusher, S, Gardner, C, Haward, M, Hobday, A, Jennings, S, Nursey-Bray, M, Punt, A, Revill, H and van Putten, I 2009, The east coast Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery: vulnerability to climate change impacts and adaptation response options, report to the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Canberra.
  16. 16 Hinojosa, IA, Gardner, C, Green, BS, Leon, R, Jeffs, A and Linnane, A in press, Differing environmental drivers of settlement across the range of Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) suggest resilience of the fishery to climate change. Fisheries Oceanography.
  17. 17 Linnane, A, Gardner, C, Hobday, D, Punt, A, McGarvey, R, Feenstra, J, Matthews, J and Green, B 2010, Evidence of large-scale spatial declines in recruitment patterns of Southern Rock Lobster Jasus edwardsii, across south-eastern Australia, Fisheries Research, 105: 163–171.

Archived reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.