Commercial rock lobster catch rates have been in constant decline in certain Tasmanian regions, which has resulted in a decrease in the total allowable commercial catch for the upcoming 2014-15 season.
According to the media release issued by the Premier of Tasmania, the decision to ensure sustainable rock lobster fishery was based on the latest scientific information on rock lobster stocks.
“The data from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) indicates that catch rates have fallen based on an assessment of stocks in the 2012/13 quota year and preliminary data for the first six months of the current quota year,” said Minister for Primary Industries and Water Bryan Green.
“This data indicates that catch rates (kilos per pot lift) have declined in some regions with state wide catch rates declining 3% over the last year.”
The Minister stressed that there have been no changes in the total allowable catch in the past three years, and that these were challenging times for the industry. That is why changes were needed in the allowable catch in order to ensure the fisheries long term sustainability.
“To achieve that there needs to be sufficient stock to provide a quality product into the future,” he said.
The rock lobster total allowable commercial catch (TACC) will be reduced by 5 kilos per quota unit from 105 kgs (TACC 1103t) to 100 kgs (TACC 1050t) for the 2014/15 quota year.
“The long term catch rate target would not be achievable without the reduced TACC. The small adjustment to the TACC this year will provide a buffer against uncertainty in terms of future recruitment to the fishery and to assist stock rebuilding in the regions with declining catch rates,” said Mr Green.
“The TACC reduction will also help to mitigate any potential additional pressure on west coast stocks from the east coast catch cap (part of the east coast stock rebuilding strategy) which will be implemented from 1 March 2014.”