COMMERCIAL and recreational fishers will be dropping lines for rock lobsters from today, with the official opening of the Victorian season.
The premium seafood product, which commands high domestic and export prices, had encountered some challenges in recent years.
Despite the rock lobster fishery being Victoria's second most valuable fishery with most of the product exported live to Asia and employing more than 200 people across regional Victoria, the industry had encountered difficulties gaining the right to export lobsters for another five years.
This was recently granted however, according to executive director of fisheries Victoria, Anthony Hurst, with the aid of a recently completed $5 million western zone structural adjustment program which had improved industry viability, he said.
Fisheries Victoria, in close collaboration with South Australia, Tasmania, CSIRO and Fisheries
Research and Development Corporation had secured funding for a two year investigation into
the status of rock lobster stocks across southern Australia, Mr Hurst said.
“The study will look at the reasons behind the rock lobster catch changes and possible links with changing environmental conditions and assess the implications for management.”
The bag limit for recreational rock lobster fishers remains at two rock lobsters per day for the coming season.
The minimum legal size for both commercial and recreational fishers remains unchanged at 10.5cm and 11.0cm carapace length for females and males respectively.
Commercial rock lobster fishers are allowed to leave port at 9.00 am on Sunday, November 15, to set their pots on the fishing grounds, but pots must not be hauled until the start of the season on November 16.
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