Fisheries Research Report No. 325
Perth, Western Australia
The Western Rock Lobster (WRL) (Panulirus cygnus) is the most commonly caught Rock Lobster (RL) species in Western Australia. Catches from the commercial and recreational sectors are required to determine and monitor Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC), Total Allowable Recreational Catch (TARC) and proportion of Allowable Harvest Level (AHL) achieved. The TARC is set at 5% of the AHL and evaluated in the harvest strategy based on a 5-year average. Since 2018/19, data for the recreational sector have been collected using phone- recall surveys to provide estimates of participation, fishing effort and retained catch (by numbers) from recreational fishers who hold a RL licence. Average weight, obtained from boat ramp surveys, are used to convert estimates of retained catch from licensed fishers by number to weight. Tour Operator Returns (Charter Logbooks) provide a census of the annual participation, effort and retained catch (by numbers) from charter fishers. Random length samples of WRL are provided by tour operators and converted to weight using a length-weight equation which are then used to covert the retained catch from numbers to weight. This report provides estimates of recreational rock lobster fishing participation, effort and catch for 2021/22 (1 February 2021–31 January 2022). Participation in the RL recreational fishery (all species) by licensed fishers (RL licence holders aged five years and older) in 2021/22 was 67.3% or 37,466 fishers (95% CI 35,980–38,952). This was steady (i.e., the 95% CI overlapped between survey years) when compared to phone recall surveys conducted between 2018/19 and 2020/21 (66.6–67.7%). The total fishing effort for RL fishing (all species) in 2021/22 by licensed fishers was 522,019 days fished (95% CI 468,799–575,240); of which 75.8% or 395,781 days (344,426–447,137) was by potting and 24.2% or 126,238 days (104,188–148,288) by diving. This was steady when compared to phone recall surveys conducted between 2018/19 and 2020/21. The majority of fishing effort in 2021/22 occurred in the Metro-West Coast region (70.1%). The retained recreational catch of WRL by licensed fishers in 2021/22, based on an overall (i.e., combined across potting and diving) average weight of 610.7 g, was 487 t (95% CI 434–541); of which 75.0% or 366 t (320–411) was harvested by potting and 25.0% or 122 t (88–156) by diving. This was steady when compared to phone recall surveys conducted between 2018/19–2020/21. Retained catch of WRL from tour operators in 2021/22 was 17 t (based on an overall average weight of 505.6 g) and has increased annually from 9 t in 2018/19. The majority of this catch in 2021/22 was taken by potting (93.2%). The 5-year average recreational catch (for licensed and tour operators combined) was 505 t in 2021/22, which represents 4.9% of the AHL.
Number of Pages
phone-recall surveys, average weight, boat ramp surveys
Smallwood, C.B., Ryan, K.L., Tate, A.C. and Rudd, L.J. 2022. Recreational fishing for Western Rock Lobster: estimates of participation, effort and catch in 2021/22. Fisheries Research Report No. 325. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. 36 pp. Enquiries: