Project number: 2016-260
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $384,180.50
Principal Investigator: Tim J. Langlois
Organisation: University of Western Australia (UWA)
Project start/end date: 8 Jan 2017 - 19 Dec 2019


A reduction in fishing effort in 2008 and change to quota management in 2010 resulted in record low harvest rates and high biomass levels across the Western Rock lobster fishery.

Counter to this trend however has been the increasingly low catch rates that have been observed in the shallow water areas (

The low catch rates in the shallow water (

Unlike areas that have recently been impacted by the 2011 marine heat wave (e.g. Kalbarri), the processes behind the atypical catch rates in this central shallow water region are unknown and appear to form a worsening long term trend.

In the short term, this trend could impact stock assessments. In the longer term, an expansion of a low catch rate region could result in significant reduction in the overall productivity of the fishery.

Understanding the processes behind the unexpected low catch rates will allow prediction of future trends, management adaptation and the potential for mitigation.


1. Determine the spatial extent and temporal trends in regions exhibiting abnormally low legal catch rates throughout the lobster fishery.
2. Identify the lobster life stage(s) resulting in abnormally low legal catch rates in the main area of low catch rates.
3. Examine factors that may be causative of the abnormally low legal catch rates.
4. Identify the implications of the low-catch regions to the stock assessment and management of the fishery.

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)