The Western Australian government plans to grow the lobster industry and boost local lobster supply.
In early-November, the government explained there could be a potential growth of 500 jobs and economic growth within the industry.
Fisheries minister Dave Kelly said more than 95 per cent of commercially caught the region’s rock lobster is exported to China.
“Little flows into our local market for the enjoyment of Western Australians and tourists.
“Scientific studies show that this sustainably certified community resource is in excellent shape. This presents us with an opportunity to use the unfished lobster resource to return greater benefits to the WA community,” said Kelly.
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 Western Australia resource is once again in a healthy state.
The western rock lobster resource is currently worth more than $5 billion, however, the net return to the Western Australian government through licence fees for this community resource is only $10m per annum.
The state government has now begun consulting with the peak industry body, Western Rock Lobster, and other stakeholders to explore options to grow the fishery, including increasing the supply of lobsters for Western Australian families and tourists.
“Benefits will include the opportunity to create hundreds of new jobs in regional communities, improve lobster supply and provide a greater economic benefit to all Western Australians,” said Kelly.
“While exploring these plans, we are committed to the sustainable management of our world-class lobster fishery, growing its value, and ensuring the future economic contribution of this natural resource,” he said.
Another initiative being considered is the establishment of an annual western rock lobster festival, which would provide locals and tourists alike with the opportunity to purchase lobsters and taste this delicious seafood.
Discussions will also include other initiatives that may benefit the industry, such as establishing a spiny lobster research institute.