The WA Government plans to double the value of Western Australia’s acclaimed western rock lobster industry and create up to 500 WA jobs.
WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly announced the WA Government and the industry’s peak body, Western Rock Lobster (Council), have agreed on an innovative industry development package that will substantially grow the industry to provide more benefits to the Western Australian community.
The staged plan proposes increasing the commercial catch from 6,300 tonnes to 8,000 tonnes, well within the sustainable limits of the resource. The additional catch will improve revenue to the State Government and increase local lobster supplies.
Through this plan, existing western rock lobster licence holders will benefit from an increased catch allocation, with an additional 315 tonnes provided in 2019, and also greater access security.
New fishing units will also be created and held by Government for the benefit of the community. This will include the creation of up to 500 WA jobs, increased revenue from the fishery for investment in essential public services, significantly increased local lobster supply for international tourists and Western Australians, and the first-ever international lobster festival in the Asia-Pacific.
The State Government will also invest $27.5 million over the next five years to develop the industry, which will include the establishment of a new body corporate and an Institute for Spiny Lobster Research. This institute will support market development and education initiatives; industry innovation, leadership and professional development; and community engagement.
The western rock lobster fishery was the first fishery in the world to be certified as ecologically sustainable by the international Marine Stewardship Council. Since then, the fishery has been successfully recertified three times with the last assessment in 2017. Recent scientific studies have confirmed the WA resource is once again in a healthy state.
The details of this industry development plan will now go out for consultation.
Source: WA Government