Divers may only catch rock lobster by hand, or by a hand-held snare or blunt crook. Spears, nets and similar devices that can damage rock lobster are illegal. Diving for rock lobster is now permitted at the Abrolhos Islands.
Divers should make all attempts to measure and count rock lobsters as accurately as possible in the water. Check each rock lobster as you catch it to determine if it is totally protected (see the "Totally protected rock lobsters" section below.). If totally protected release it carefully and immediately, before another rock lobster is captured.
Fisheries Officers in normal circumstances allow five minutes from when a diver returns to the vessel for divers to sort, recheck for any totally protected lobster and tail clip their catch, before undertaking their inspection.
You may not fish for rock lobster using any bovine material (other than gelatine or tallow), any skin or hide, anything to which any mammal skin or hide is attached, any abalone material or any lobster material.
No more than two rock lobster pots per licence holder. Six pots may be pulled when there are three or more licensed fishers on board.
No more than six pots may be pulled per boat trip. No more than six pots may be carried on a boat at any time.
Pots must be pulled by the licence holder. Pulling someone else’s pot is illegal.
Removing someone else’s float from a pot and replacing it with your own is also illegal.
Two licensed fishers are now permitted to share a rock lobster pot. Each licensed fisher must attach a separate float with only their own gear identification (ID) number on it, to the pot. No more than two floats, each with only one gear ID number, must be attached.
Each licence holder may use no more than two pots to fish for lobster, even if sharing pots.
Fishers are not permitted to bring home lobsters on behalf of the person who shares their pot and may only take and land their own bag limit.
Lobsters you keep
Rock lobsters must be kept and stored whole (with head and tail) unless they are being prepared for immediate consumption. However, you may now store rock lobster tails (shell on), at your principle place of residence.
If a lobster is kept, within five minutes of taking the lobster from the water you must:
- clip the central flap on its tail fan, removing at least the bottom half of it (see picture below), or
- punch a circular hole of no less than 10 mm in diameter in the central segment of the tail fan within five minutes of the lobster being brought to the boat or land where a boat is not used.
This is done to identify it as a recreationally caught lobster, which can’t be sold.
In normal circumstances a Fisheries Officer will allow five minutes from the time a diver returns to the vessel or from where a pot is pulled before undertaking an inspection.
At the end of your fishing activity you:
- Must not have any Totally Protected Fish i.e. undersize tar spot etc.
- Must not have more than the bag limit or boat limit.
- Must have tail clipped all retained lobsters.