Establishment of a World Centre of Excellence for Lobster in Australia (Phase 1 Scoping study)

Project Number:



Western Rock Lobster Council Inc (WRLC)

Principal Investigator:

Kim Colero

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





The Western Rock Lobster fishery is arguably the largest and best managed wild-harvest fishery in Australia. The first fishery in the world to be recognised as ecologically sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council the fishery has survived and thrived through biological, economic and social adversity to be one of the healthiest fisheries in the world. This is recognised worldwide and researchers, managers, and industry have recognised its pre-eminence among crustacean fisheries. Telling the world about the phenomenal success that is the Western Rock Lobster industry is long overdue. It needs to demonstrate emphatically There is a need to recognise the excellence of the Western Rock Lobster Fishery. There is an opportunity to create a worldwide Centre of Excellence for spiny (rock) lobster research and management in Western Australia by 2020, the 20th Anniversary of its world first certification as ecologically sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council and the time of its fifth consecutive certification. The Western Rock Lobster Fishery has been an exemplar of fisheries management since the first regulation (a minimum size) was introduced in 1875. Ground-breaking research by George (who first determined that it was a distinct species) Chittleborough, Phillips and others led to the introduction of ‘Limited Entry’ over fifty years ago and the catching of Puerulus and thus the ability to predict the catch up to four years in advance. This stunning advance led to the ability of industry to invest with confidence and the ability of management to adjust effort to be in line with the expected rates of harvest. The fishery has survived many ecological, economic and social challenges, not least the massive downturn in Puerulus settlement in 20?? Which lead to the introduction of quota. The Board of the Western Rock Lobster Council believes it is time to bring this together into a single location and be the world centre of spiny (rock) lobster research, development and extension and this study proposes to test the feasibility of that vision.


1. To determine the scope for the establishment of a worldwide Lobster Centre of Excellence in Western Australia.