Project number: 2021-096
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $556,600.00
Principal Investigator: Tom T. Cosentino
Organisation: Southern Rocklobster Ltd (SRL)
Project start/end date: 31 Jan 2022 - 30 Dec 2025


The operating environment for Southern rock lobster fishing and exporting businesses has changed significantly since January 2020. Prior to this the value of the catch (beach price) has remained consistently high (average around $80/kg with highs up to $120/kg). Investment has had an exceptional ROI in this industry due to the scale of the fishery. This has enabled the fishery to engage in a progressive research agenda which focused on consolidation of knowledge and expansion of existing programs (biotoxins, lobster health, supply chain development).

However, the global pandemic and trade disruptions to the live export market in China have seen a precipitous decline in beach price (as low as $25/kg) making some operations unviable. Ongoing trade disruption has brought about a need for industry to urgently adapt to new markets and market offerings. Changing consumer preferences are demanding that out sector make further advancements in carbon and waste reduction as well as the circular economy. Performing in a changing climate will also be a focus of the fishery going forward.

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 600 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.

SRL remains an active supporter and stakeholder in SafeFish and the Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG) to primarily address issues regarding food safety and international market access. The continuance of these relationships are paramount to the SRL industry's success to service new and existing markets as well as build on domestic opportunities.

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 on 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 prioritised 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 Planb) 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
andd) 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. 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 effective extension.
4. Respond to emerging issues coming from changing markets and consumer preferences including carbon reduction, the circular economy, animal welfare and climate.

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