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Increased Tonnage For Lobster Fishery

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Given the strong performance of the NSW Lobster Fishery, the number of lobsters commercial fisherman can catch this financial year has been increased by 10 tonnes.

The total allowable commercial catch (TACC) will go from 102 tonnes last year to 112 tonnes for 2006/07.

The decision to increase the catch has been based on the latest scientific evidence.

The Total Allowable Catch Setting and Review Committee – which is made up of independent experts – determined that the catch should be increased this year.

The commercial catch had been reduced in recent years because of concerns about the status of spawning stock (or the number of lobsters able to breed).

Lobsters reach maturity and are able to begin breeding at a minimum of 167mm. However, they are deemed better breeders the older and bigger they get.

The 10 tonne increase is a clear indicator that the tough decisions made by the NSW Government in previous years have paid off, with lobster stocks increasing.

The TAC Committee stated there are good indications that rebuilding is happening and that there has been a general increase in lobster numbers across a wide range of sizes.

This Committee includes some of the world’s leading fisheries scientists who use best practice modelling to guide decision making.

While the State’s lobster industry has experienced tough times in recent years, it’s clear the science-based approach is now paying dividends.

DPI would like to thank the Committee and the lobster industry for working so cooperatively with the State Government to enhance the sustainability of this important industry.

The State’s lobster industry looks set to be worth around $4.2 million for the 2005/06 financial year and the additional 10 tonnes will make it even more valuable in the future.

The Lobster Fishery operates all along the NSW coast with the Port Stephens and Illawarra areas the major harvesters.

There are currently 146 lobster fishers in NSW.

Media contact: 8289 3949

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