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Southern Zone rock lobster season opens 1 October

Minister Gail Gago
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

News Release
Wednesday, 25 September, 2013

PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture is gearing up for the upcoming rock lobster season which opens in the Southern Zone at 6am on 1 October.

As part of the season opening preparations Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Gail Gago has announced the total allowable commercial catch (TACC) for both the Southern and Northern Zone Rock Lobster Fisheries.

The 2013-14 TACC remains unchanged from the previous season, with 1,250 tonnes for the Southern Zone Rock Lobster Fishery and 345 tonnes for the Northern Zone Fishery.

“In 2011 new harvest strategies were developed that utilise information on the abundance of adult and juvenile lobster to assess fishery performance and provide clear guidance to the TACC setting process,” Ms Gago said.

“This structured framework for the TACC decision-making process ensures the ecologically sustainable development objectives of the Fisheries Management Act 2007 are achieved, and provides certainty for all stakeholders about how and on what basis the annual TACC decision will be made.”

With South Australia one of the few States that allow recreational fishers to use rock lobster pots to catch rock lobster, Minister Gago said it was important that recreational fishers were also aware of the recreational fishing restrictions and to follow them.

“While the State Government was pleased with the general level of compliance last season we are aware there were still a number of undersized rock lobsters being landed,” Ms Gago said.

“It’s important that fishers follow these rules to protect our fish stocks. Both the commercial and recreational rock lobster fishery is a significant part of the Limestone Coast and we need to all work together to ensure its sustainability.

”The two commercial rock lobster fisheries contribute over $125 million to the gross state product and generate approximately 1,200 jobs in South Australia.”

Minister Gago said that Fisheries Officers regularly conduct patrols throughout the year to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations.

The minimum size rock lobster that can be landed is 9.85cm.

“I remind recreational fishers that rock lobster pots must be registered with PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture and can only be operated and checked by the registered owner of the pot,” Ms Gago said.

“If you are caught using or interfering with pots not registered in your name, fines of up to $10,000 can apply.”

Rock Lobster fishing rules at a glance:

  • Minimum carapace length: 9.85cm (Southern Zone only)
  • Daily individual bag limit: 4
  • Daily boat limit: 8 (where two or more people on board)
  • Berried rock lobster (females carrying eggs) are protected and must be returned to the water immediately
  • Recreational fishers must clip the middle tail fan horizontally in half before landing
  • Report lost or stolen pots to FISHWATCH 1800 065 522

Fishers can access up-to-date information about the rules that apply to recreational fishing for rock lobster, as well as applications to register recreational rock lobster pots with PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture at www.pir.sa.gov.au/fisheries

Suspicious or illegal fishing behaviour can be reported through the 24 hour FISHWATCH number on 1800 065 522. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

The Southern Zone rock lobster season opens on 1 October 2013 and runs through to 31 May 2014.

The Northern Zone rock lobster season opens on 1 November 2013 and runs through to 31 May 2013.