Project number: 2010-200
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $381,465.00
Principal Investigator: Anthony Hart
Organisation: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA
Project start/end date: 14 Aug 2010 - 30 Jun 2013


The octopus fishery is a new fishery in Western Australia that has shown innovation in pot design and fishing practice to negate bycatch of other species, but commercial scale development has been impeded by lack of relevent information. An average of 140 tonnes of octopus are caught as by-catch every year by the Western Rock Lobster Fishery, however estimates are that these account for only 10% of octopus that actually predate on lobster in lobster traps, the remaining 90% evade capture. Annual landings from octopus developing fisheries have increased drastically from 1t in 1999 to 30 tonnes in 2008, and this expansion has been mirrored by a 200% increase in value from ~$4/kg in 2002 to $12/kg in 2008. Industry would like to see an expansion of effort within the fishery, particularly within areas fished by the rock lobster fishery, because the new LED trigger pots have enabled octopus-specific targeting of previously inaccessible habitat. However, so far the Department of Fisheries has resisted calls for a major expansion of the octopus fishery due to the paucity of stock assessment and biological information. Thus there is an urgent need to undertake innovative research and assessment of the Octopus cf. tetricus, fishery to guide Departmental policy to ensure any future expansion of the fishery occurs in a controlled and sustainable manner.


1. Determine fishing efficiency of octopus trigger pots
2. Describe the general life history of O. tetricus in WA, including age, growth and reproductive biology
3. Estimate potential harvest from octopus fisheries
4. Calculate the effects of fishing closures on octopus predation rates on rock lobsters

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-877098-11-6
Author: Anthony Hart

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