Southern Rock Lobster, locally known as Crayfish or ‘Cray’. The flesh is firm, sweet and rich in flavour. Fishermen catch these red fish with pots which are set on the ocean floor and collected after a few hours. It takes many years of practice and skill to learn where to set your pots and how to retrieve them. Our fishers brave wild seas to bring you fresh lobster.
Locals simply boil their cray (in seawater, preferably) before cracking in. Don’t forget the meat in the legs, the juiciest bit.
Our fleet is just under 300 boats, docked all around the State.
Once harvested from the wild our processors hold the fish in holding tanks. Fish are sold live and frozen, cooked or raw.
Most of the product is traded live on the export market. Southern rock lobster have long been an important natural resource for Tasmanian communities representing a traditional food source for the local Aboriginal population and supporting major modern recreational and commercial fisheries.
The commercial fishery currently catches just over 1000 tonnes per annum and a landed value of about $90 million.
The Tasmanian rock lobster fishery is managed by quotas. The number of fish that can be caught in a pre-determined period in a fishery is referred to as the total allowable catch (TAC). Click here for more information on Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery quota and data management.
Southern Rock Lobster (Crayfish)
1. Fun Fact
There are two species of rock lobster native to Tasmania. Southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) and Eastern rock lobster (Sagmariasus verreauxi). Southern rock lobster is the predominant species in Tasmania. They are only found in the waters of Southern Australia and New Zealand.
2. Fun Fact
They are omnivorous and often feed at night. Their diet consists of molluscs such as abalone or mussel, small crustacea, worms, sea urchins and algae.
3. Fun Fact
The Rock lobster fishery has sustainably operated in Tasmania for over 150 years with contributions of $100 million dollars made in 2018-2019. This is known as Gross value added (GVA) and is a measure of the value of goods produced in a sector.
4. Fun Fact
The sector directly employs 341 people and indirectly employs 270 people.
5. Fun Fact
The Tasmanian rock lobster fishery primarily targets southern rock lobster. The fishermen use pots with bait in them to capture the rock lobster in waters all around Tasmania. Majority of their catch comes from the Western side of the state.
6. Fun Fact
Commercial fishing season typically opens around November and closes between May – October the following year.
7. Fun Fact
There are regulations and management plans that govern the commercial fishing of rock lobsters in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Crustacean Fisheries Advisory Committee (CFAC) is made up of industry representatives, scientists and community groups. They advise The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) on how the fishery should be managed. The Institute of Marine and Antarctic science (IMAS) conduct an annual stock assessment which also influences the fisheries management plan.
My name is Squizzy, I fish from the Bold Contender
around the South coast.
- 3Read Our Stories
Buy SeafoodMeet your Producers
Often, fishers will unload at ports such as Dover, Margate and Nubeena and sell off their boat. Follow the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council social media pages to find out when and where.
Looking for Wholesale?
Check out our processors list. These suppliers sell live, frozen and processed product.
You can also ask your local fishmonger.
How to prepare Lobster
Place lobster in freezer until there are no signs of movement.
The tail must be limp and the legs must be still. This will take at least 30min depending on the size of the lobster.
Once the lobster is rendered insensible, immediately spike the lobster between the eyes with a sharp knife and split in half (lengthways), or boil whole.
Scoop out the gut and remove the intestinal tract.
The lobster is ready to cook!
IndustryMeet a Fisherman
Brendon ‘Squizzy’ Taylor
Brendon ‘Squizzy’ Taylor always loved fishing. From fifteen years of age, he knew he wanted to be a fisherman. He was the first in his family to enter the profession. He started as a deckhand on the 62’ fishing vessel, the ‘Bold Contender’. He worked his way through the ranks and was ultimately able to become the proud new owner of the Bold Contender. He has had an employee for 7 years and has helped develop his career and prepared him for a future in the industry.
In response to the decline of the export market due to the COVID-19 pandemic and trade tensions with China, Squizzy began to sell lobsters directly off the boat at the Margate Wharf. The local community has helped to keep his business alive. Squizzy enjoys meeting people from all different walks of life, engaging with the local community and sharing stories with them. He has lived in the Channel area his whole life and has formed a strong connection with the community.
In addition to selling lobsters directly off the boat, he has also teamed up with Tasmanian gourmet seafoods, a local restaurant and seafood retailer. Together, they provide fresh seafood to locations all across Tasmania from their food truck. He offers advice on how to prepare and cook lobster for those that are new at cooking with lobster. Customers often share their culinary creations with Squizzy.
Squizzy also features on the hit tv show ‘Aussie Lobster Men’ that aired on 7Mate, Discovery and Foxtel. The show follows six fishing vessels and their crew on their pursuit to catch rock lobster in Tasmania. The show highlights the harsh conditions these fisherman face on a day-to-day basis and really re-affirms why Tasmanian Rock Lobster is considered a premium product. The show did not only promote Tasmanian Rock Lobster, it also promoted Tasmania as a tourism hot spot.
Through Aussie Lobster men, the food truck and his connection to community, Squizzy has built up a strong following. He currently has over 10,000 followers on Facebook and is key player in encouraging the community to eat more Tassie seafood.
How we harvest your seafood
HistoryStories from way back
The Parker Family
Chris Parker’s earliest memory of fishing is with his father off Dunalley. They were in the Bangar, his father’s 22-foot open cray dingy.
Some things about rock lobster fishing have changed, others have not. Stick pots are still here, though Chris remembers having to haul them by hand rather than the pot haulers used today.
One of the biggest differences is working out where to drop the pot. In his youth, Chris watched his father dropping a three-inch pipe overboard. The pipe was filled with lead except for the last inch, which had fat in it. If the pipe came up with sand on it, no pot would be set; if it had rocks on it, they would chuck a pot over.
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