Gardner, C and Hartmann, K and Hobday, D, Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery 2009/10, Fishery Assessment Report, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Hobart, Tasmania (2011) [Government or Industry Research]
The capacity for the Tasmanian southern rock lobster fishery to support the annual har-vest is a function of both growth of the legal sized stock and also recruitment of new lobsters into the stock. Decline in productivity from both of these processes has result-ed in a decline of the legal-sized stock, which in turn has led to a TACC reduction. The prolonged low recruitment to the fishery is exceptional and unlike any downturn seen previously over the period of four decades from 1970 to 2010. Low recruitment has led to erosion of the legal sized stock and thus reduced productivity through growth.
The TACC for 2009/10 was reduced from 1524 t in the previous year to 1471 t, yet was substantially under-caught with a total catch of only 1356 t - a deficit of 114 t. Part of the 2009/10 catch was carry-over of quota from the previous year, thus the true deficit in catch from quota allocated in 2009/10 was 162 t. A further reduction in the TACC occurred in the 2010/11 season to 1324 t and early signs are that this will also be sub-stantially under-caught.
As of 10 September 2010, the catch in the 2010/2011 quota year was at a record low of 337 tonnes. On the same date the catch was 394 t in 2009, 544 t in 2008 and 639 t in 2007. Based on the 2009/2010 catch profile (which most closely resembles the current year), the total catch for 2010/2011 was estimated to be 1163 t, which means that we expect the TACC of 1324 t will not be taken.
This assessment conducts harvest strategy evaluations that estimate probable outcomes of different management options, such as different TACCs. Recruitment is a key input into this process and outputs will be biased if the recruitment process has fundamentally changed, for example due to changing oceanic currents with climate change. Conse-quently, this assessment used recruitment from the last ten years to address