Project number: 2003-213
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $759,195.00
Principal Investigator: Roy Melville-Smith
Organisation: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA
Project start/end date: 29 Dec 2003 - 30 Mar 2008


Research has been completed showing that it is possible to harvest commercial quantities of pueruli/post-pueruli, which at this stage, appears to be unique in Australia. The same research has shown that harvesting of post-pueruli would have little impact on the commercial fishery and that there are ways of compensating the commercial catch to make post-pueruli removal biologically neutral. There is commercial interest in ongrowing western rock lobster post-pueruli to a marketable size, but basic data have yet to be obtained on growth and survival rates at different stocking densities. This project will provide the biological information (growth rates, food consumption etc) to assist potential investors in being able to assess the economic potential of this form of aquaculture. It should be noted that this proposed research will be equally relevant should it become possible in the future to produce pueruli by aquaculture, rather than by harvesting wild caught pureuli and post-pureuli.


1. Determine optimal flow rates for pueruli and juvenile western rock lobsters held at high densities in flow through tanks.
2. Evaluation of growth rates and survival of pueruli to market sized lobsters with and without refuges and under two levels of biomass per unit volume of water.
3. Estimation of the expected survival rate and period required to produce a marketable size animal from post-puerulus.
4. Provide biological data to assist in assessing the economic potential for growing out western rock lobsters from post-puerulus to marketable size.
5. To determine the composition of lipids in cultured western rock lobsters compared to those of wild western rock lobsters of similar age and size.
6. To determine the influence of diet on the lipid composition of cultured western rock lobsters.

Final report

ISBN: 1-8770-98-94-9
Author: Roy Melville-Smith

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