Back of boat sales change brings cheap lobsters to locals

Changes to legislation to allow commercial rock lobster fishers to sell up to 100 lobsters per day directly from the back of boat is tipped to finally deliver a regular supply of lobsters for local consumption.

Under the changes, Western Rock Lobster fishers will be able to directly supply local restaurants, fresh fish retailers and the public.

The changes are a direct outcome of lobbying from peak industry body, Western Rock Lobster, in response to the dramatic decline in export demand for western rock lobster as a result of COVID-19.

Lobster sales into China plummeted immediately following the outbreak of COVID-19 and are slowly rebuilding, however there is growing interest to diversify sales pipelines to reduce reliance on one key export market. Previously about 95 per cent of WA lobsters were exported to China.

Other changes include extending the current season to 18 months, bringing forward a proportion of the 2021 season quota and introducing new measures to minimise the likelihood of whale interactions.

WA Fisheries Minister, Peter Tinley said the 230 boats in the fishery can now land up to 100 lobsters each fishing trip to sell from the back of boat.

“This also presents a unique tourism opportunity for our coastal fishing towns to promote back of boat sales to visitors, and help them to enjoy fresh lobster bought directly from the fishers who caught it,” he said.

The changes ensure that the sales quota for back-of-boat sales remains within the sustainability limits for the fishery.