Project number: 2020-123
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $750,000.00
Principal Investigator: Simon de Lestang
Organisation: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Hillarys
Project start/end date: 30 Sep 2021 - 29 Sep 2025


A program to direct WRL BBE research over the next four years will increase the strategic focus of research and increase the efficiency of the application and granting process, thus leading to a more rapid implementation of outcomes into the management of the fishery.
Quantitative methods used by DPRID to assess WRL stock and predict recruitment are based on the historical research, and have served the industry well, with current stock levels being extremely healthy and the fishery targeting maximum economic yield. Recently, perceived anomalies in observations and predictions have led to concerns by some within industry that the understanding of the BBE of WRL is not as robust as once thought, and that gaps within our knowledge exist. Members of industry, including investors, fishers, processors and government, all have different views on what research is important, what we currently have a good understanding of, and what information is potentially missing from our current suite of knowledge, in addition to what may be important in the future. Some knowledge gaps may be perceived rather than actual with prior research existing, but has not been disseminated wide-enough, while other gaps will be novel and unknown. There is an expansive back catalogue of research on WRL that currently is unknown to many within the WRL industry and re-iterating this research to industry would aid many in increasing their understanding of the current sustainability of the stock and the value for future investment. There also exists a number of knowledge gaps identified by industry and prioritising these is required. Thus, there is a need to review and collate historical research on WRL and disseminate this in a report for the WRL stakeholders.
There is also a need to strategically align current and future research with contemporary requirements such as addressing information requirements to maintain MSC certification, ecosystem-based fisheries management, the effects of adjacent marine activities (e.g. seismic) and marine parks, and the constantly changing seascape through climate change and extreme events.


1. Collate all published research on Western Rock Lobster and develop this into a usable format
2. Canvass Western Rock Lobster stakeholders to determine perceived knowledge gaps
3. Develop research projects to reduce knowledge gaps and produce information required for the WRL industry over a four-year horizon
4. Identify future areas of Western Rock Lobster research after the four-years horizon.

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)