Project number: 2009-714.10
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $169,398.90
Principal Investigator: Nick Caputi
Organisation: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2010 - 29 Jun 2013


The western rocklobster fishery is facing significant economic pressure from the cost-price squeeze as well as reduced catches as a result of low puerulus settlement and resultant management changes. It is therefore important to undertake a bioeconomic assessment of the management strategies to ensure economic optimization of the fishery. As a result of the low puerulus settlement there have been significant reductions in fishing effort (ca. 50% in 2008/09) that are taking into account the economic aspects of the fishery eg MEY assessment and reducing the peak catches in March-April. The effort reductions have also been focused on periods of peak catches in December and March/April (4 days fishing allowed) compared to the non peak periods (5 days fishing allowed) to obtain some market benefits. The move of the fishery from an input control fishery to an output control fishery using ITQ for the 2010/11 season will also change the fishing strategy and hence cost structure of fishers which will affect the MEY assessment. It is important that an economic assessment is undertaken given this new strategy. The proposed use of the MEY in determining the target for the decision-rule framework for the management of the fishery means that it will be an integral part of the catch quota setting process each year.


1. To estimate the annual catch and effort to achieve optimum economic yield
2. To evaluate intra-annual market-based management strategies.
3. To evaluate the economic effect of current and proposed management changes.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-9756044-7-2
Authors: Nick Caputi Simon de Lestang Chris Reid Alex Hesp Jason How and Peter Stephenson
Final Report • 2014-07-24


The Western Rocklobster fishery was one of the first to be made limited entry with the number of licences restricted since 1963. Historically, the main focus of the assessment and management of the fishery has been on the status of the breeding stock to ensure biological sustainability. In the mid-2000s, however, the commercial fishery was facing significant economic pressure from increasing costs, lower prices and reduced catches as a result of low recruitment so there was a need to focus on the economics of the fishery. A bio-economic assessment of the management strategy was therefore important to help facilitate economic optimization of the fishery as well as maintain an adequate level of breeding stock.

This assessment provides a clear demonstration of the economic benefits of fishing at a level close to maximum economic yield (MEY) under either an input or output management regime.

Related research


Climate driven shifts in benthic habitat composition as a potential demographic bottleneck for Western Rocklobster: understanding the role of recruitment habitats to better predict the under-size lobster population for fishery sustainability

1. The overall objective is to evaluate the implications of habitat change for the western rock lobster fishery, by determining the relative importance of habitat for the survivorship and growth of critical western rock lobster life stages, to inform the interpretation of existing settlement and...
University of Western Australia (UWA)