Project number: 2016-410
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $1,011,907.86
Principal Investigator: Tom T. Cosentino
Organisation: Southern Rocklobster Ltd (SRL)
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2016 - 29 Jun 2020


The Southern Rock Lobster industry has a complex array of business structures. Many of the quota units or catch shares are owned by small family businesses while an increasing amount is owned by larger companies. Catch is taken by around 625 vessels and packed and processed by a number of different companies. The large and complex array of firms across three States means there is a need for leadership in prioritising and coordinating the investment in and managing industry RD&E.

For the past three years the value of the catch (producer prices) has increased from $176 million to $228 million with the 2013/14 year the highest on record with 2014-15 likely to be higher again. Profitability has increased at a greater rate than this trend in revenue would indicate, because of gradual improvement in catch rate. There is opportunity to further increase the financial return from the resource through improvements in price and reduction in costs. Research investment tends to have an exceptional ROI in this industry due to the scale of the fishery.

In 2012, SRL partnered with the Australian Abalone industry to form the Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG) to primarily address issues regarding exports to China. This proved timely as the negotiations for a China - Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) became a Government priority and the STAG contributed significantly to successful inclusion of lobster and abalone. This agreement is expected to create substantial change in the SRL fishery in the future and we need to be well prepared to respond.

This project will build on the existing capacity to deal with Southern Rock Lobster RD&E needs in a strategic and efficient way. The industry will benefit from continued collaboration with the New Zealand Rock Lobster industry on R&D projects will continue under this project including sharing R&D initiatives with other Australian Rock Lobster representative bodies.


1. Coordinate Southern Rock Lobster RD&E planning and management so that RD&E is strategically prioritized and delivered cost-effectively.
2. Deliver a corporate structure, resources and processes for SRL that ensures:a) Leadership focusing on continuous industry development through the delivery of the SRL Strategic Plan b) a strategic focus on maximising profitability across the value chain within the limits of sustainability of the resource, c) high level governance at the operational, planning and strategic level
and d) effective engagement of all stakeholders in planning and building SRL’s value proposition to ensure further development within the fishery and relevance of SRL’s functions.
3. Engage with Southern Rock Lobster Processors and Exporters (post-harvest sector) to establish a representative body and processes for contributing to industry development, RD&E initiatives and representation of this body on the SRL Board.
4. Communicate consistent information and the extension of R&D outputs to support and promote the adoption of new technology, science and other project outcomes through mediums such as the SRL Newsletter, website and fact sheets

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