- McGowan Government embarks on plan to grow the State's lobster industry for greater community benefit
- Potential to create up to 500 WA jobs and double the value of the industry
- WA to establish the first-ever annual international lobster festival in the Asia-Pacific
The McGowan Government plans to double the value of Western Australia's acclaimed western rock lobster industry and create up to 500 WA jobs.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly today announced the 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.
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
"This innovative plan will reap huge rewards for the industry and the broader Western Australian community. It has the potential to create up to 500 WA jobs (many in regional areas), double the value of the industry and significantly increase the supply of lobsters into the local market.
"It aligns with the Western Rock Lobster (Council)'s vision to grow the industry's gross value of production to more than $1 billion by 2028 and to help build a professional and resilient industry.
"Existing operators in the industry fish about 80 per cent of the sustainable catch, leaving 20 per cent of this community-owned resource currently unfished.
"I appreciate that the existing fishers would prefer to be granted free ownership of the additional 1,700 tonnes of commercial lobster catch. However, this is a community-owned resource. Sharing the new tonnage - 315 to existing fishers and 1,385 to the State Government on behalf of the Western Australian people - is a fair result.
"With this unfished potential, and strong export demand for WA's iconic lobsters, the time is right to ensure that present and future generations of Western Australians enjoy a share in the benefits from this iconic community-owned resource.
"The plan also includes creating the Asia Pacific's first-ever international lobster festival. We want to take what we've learnt from the successful Mandurah crab festival and create a unique festival that draws in tourists and gives Western Australians the opportunity to taste our delicious lobster.
"We are very pleased to be working alongside this dynamic industry to manage our world class lobster fishery, and ensure future economic contribution of this community resource flows back to Western Australians."
Minister's office - 6552 6100
Lobster fact sheet.pdf