Gardner, C and Hirst, AJ and Haddon, M, Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery 2003/04, Fishery Assessment Report, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Hobart, Tasmania, 2005 (2005) [Government or Industry Research]
The economic value of the Tasmanian rock lobster fishery contributes significantly to the State’s regional economy. The fishery has recreational and commercial components and this annual analysis of the state of the resource is important for management advice in both sectors and to identify potential for growth.
Opportunities for economic growth exist through both increasing catches (through improved management of spatial components of the fishery) and increasing the value of harvests. However, in the commercial fishery trading conditions are currently difficult due to continued pressure on margins through a combination of increased product globally, exchange rate, and most recently the closure of the Chinese border to Australian lobsters.
The state of the resource was formally evaluated against a series of performance indicators (Table 1). These were assessed for the most recent quota year: March 2003 to February 2004. The recreational catch was estimated through surveys and the latest estimate had almost reached the trigger point of 10% of the commercial catch, which indicated that a review was required. Other performance indicators were not close to trigger points.
The Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage reviewed the monitoring and management of the Tasmanian rock lobster fishery as part of wildlife export accreditation. This process provided recommendations to focus research onto ecosystem based management issues (Table 2). While all recommendations were met at least in part there is scope for improvement, which provides direction for future research.
Several other measures of the resource were analysed aside from the formal indicators. Many of these showed some problems with the resource, especially in sheltered and shallow areas off the north and east.