Measuring rock lobster
Determining a rock lobster sex
The sex is easily determined:
- Females have small pincers on the rear pair of legs.
- Pleopods are in paired form on each side of the underside of female tails and are in single form in male tails.
- If you are unsure of the sex use the 60 mm measurement and you will be safe.
Hold the lobster by the back of its carapace (hard shell), tail facing towards you. Turn it upside town. Gently fold out its tail and determine its sex.
Measuring red rock lobster
The tail width is measured in a straight line between the tips of the two large (primary) spines on the second segment of the tail, as shown in the diagrams below. The minimum sizes for red rock lobster are:
54 mm for males and 60 mm for females.
If a red rock lobster measures less than 54 mm for a male or less than 60 mm for a female, or if any part of the spines or shell on this segment is broken, the lobster can not be kept and must be returned to the sea, immediately and unharmed.
Measuring packhorse rock lobster
For packhorse rock lobster, the minimum tail length measure is 216 mm.
The tail is measured along the underside in a straight line from the rear of the calcified bar on the first segment to the tip of the middle fan of the tail.
Special measuring gauge
The regulations require that, in cases of dispute, a red rock lobster must be measured with an official, certified gauge. You may measure with an uncertified gauge or a ruler, but
these can serve only as a guide. Certified gauges are available from MFish offices.
Handgathering is the only harvest method allowed to divers. It is illegal to use any spear or device which could puncture the shell when taking rock lobster or possess any rock lobster which has been speared. Rock lobster pots are the only other legal method of capture. In addition to regulation escape gaps, all pots and surface floats must be marked clearly, legibly and permanently with the initials and surname of the fisher. It is illegal to use baited set nets to take rock lobster.
Fishers must immediately return egg bearing (berried) female lobster or any lobster in the soft shell stage to the water.
Special care should be taken to return all lobster onto suitable habitat immediately so that mortalities from exposure to sun and wind, or attacks by predators as they swim to shelter, are minimised. It is illegal for recreational and customary fishers to sell their catch.