South Australian Rock Lobster Fishery Review

The South Australian Rock Lobster Fishery has landed approximately 2,000t per annum of Jasus edwardsii and is one of that state’s most valuable fisheries. In 2010 the industry based South Australian Rock Lobster Advisory Council, and the state fisheries management agency PIRSA, selected Dr Prince and Prof. Ray Hilborn, University of Washington, to conduct parallel reviews of management plans and harvest strategy, and of the science and assessment program.

Since management with Individually Transferable Quota (commonly called Catch Shares in North America), the fishermen have been changing the way they fish. Prior to this form of management the fishers competed for access to high catch rate areas. Now they accept lower catch rates close to home ports, because when fuel costs are taken into account the return per kilo of quota filled, is better close to home. The fisheries data being collected, analyzed and use in a harvest strategy to set Total Allowable Catches are coarse scale and they have become very negative. Nothing beats good spatially explicit data. So the consultants reports extolled the virtue of collecting good spatially explicit data on catch, effort and size, and proposed a simple harvest strategy framework to set catch levels at finer scales.