Rock Lobster (all species)

Rock Lobster

South-west control area

On May 4, 2021, a Control Area was declared after detection of Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis (AVG) in wild abalone. AVG has no known effects on human health.

Click here to read more about the Control Area.

The Control Area spans along the coastline from Bridgewater Bay in the west to past Narrawong in the east and is varied offshore to 30 m ocean depth. This includes Portland.

The control order for the control area prohibits several activities, including the:

  • taking of abalone and other shellfish;
  • recreational hoop nets, bait traps, hauling nets;
  • recreational diving for abalone;
  • taking of rock lobster, all shellfish, sea urchins and any of the substrate or sea floor; and
  • movement of any abalone or shellfish out of the control area unless the movement is in accordance with a permit issued by an inspector.

Boats, vessels and fishing equipment cannot be anchored in the Control Area. However, a vessel can move through the area provided it does not stop. All line fishing is prohibited from shore or boat within the control area.

More information is available at Agriculture Victoria's website.

Common name/sRock Lobster
Scientific namePalinuridae including eastern rock lobster (green crays), Sagmariasus verreauxi, Jasus edwardsii (southern rock lobster)
Minimum legal sizeMale: 11 cm carapace length
Female: 10.5 cm carapace length

See below to learn how to measure rock lobsters.
Bag limit

2 tagged and tail-clipped lobster (see below to read about tail clipping rock lobster)

Possession limit

The possession limit for rock lobster in, on or next to any Victorian waters is 4 tagged and tail-clipped rock lobster.

Additional information

Rock lobster are subject to a closed season, meaning they cannot be taken or possessed on, in or near Victorian waters during this time. The closed season for rock lobster is the following:

Males: 15 September to 15 November inclusive

Female: 1 June to 15 November inclusive

During the male closed season, hoop nets must not be used, set of immersed in any marine water other than

  • Port Phillip and Western Port Bay
  • the Gippsland Lakes
  • any inlet

You can't collect rock lobster in waters less than 2m deep (the intertidal zone) in Port Phillip Bay. Click here for more information on Port Phillip Bay's intertidal zone.

You can't collect rock lobster in Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries. Click here for more information on Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries.

Rock lobster must be retained whole or with the tail and carapace still attached to each other.

You must not take or possess female rock lobster in berry (with eggs) or remove eggs from female rock lobster.

You must not take soft shelled rock lobsters.

You must return females in berry or young and soft-shelled lobsters to the water immediately and without further harm.

Finally, you must register and be allocated rock lobster tags before you go fishing. Click here to lean more about rock lobster tagging.

Distinguishing features of male and female rock lobster

Rock Lobster Features

A quick guide on what equipment you can and can't use for collecting rock lobster

Outside of restricted areas, only the following methods can be used to collect rock lobster:

No other equipment can be used to capture or assist in the capture of rock lobster. Some equipment can be possessed but it cannot be used to capture rock lobster (see table below).

Hoop nets from shore or boatLegal to possess and useLegal when used from the shore and boat only.
Hoop nets while snorkelling or divingIllegal to possess and useHoop nets are not legal equipment when used when underwater diving or snorkelling for rock lobster.
Bait only (held in hand)Legal to possess and useBait must not be attached to anything. It must only be held in your hand.
Spear gun/hand-held spearLegal to possess
Illegal to use
Spear guns can be carried but cannot be used in anyway to capture or assist in the capture of rock lobster.
Catch/mesh bag (whether empty or containing fish of any kind)Legal to possess
Illegal to use
A catch/mesh bag can be used to hold your catch (fish or rock lobster, usually while diving, snorkelling or collecting from the shore). A catch/mesh bag cannot be used to net, entangle or lure rock lobster.
TorchLegal to possess
Illegal to use
A torch can be carried and used as a light source whilst underwater but cannot be used in any way to leverage or assist in the capture of rock lobster.
Dive equipment (e.g. removed fin)Legal to possess
Illegal to use
Dive equipment is for assisting with snorkelling and diving only. Dive equipment cannot be used to capture or assist in the capture of rock lobster.
Camera equipment (e.g. GoPros attached to a pole)Legal to possess
Illegal to use
Camera equipment can be carried to record your diving experience but it must not be used to capture or assist in the capture of rock lobster.
Chemicals of any sort (e.g. dishwashing liquid)Illegal to useChemicals cannot be squirted into crevices. The use of chemicals in marine water is also illegal under environmental legislation.
Snare/gaffIllegal to possess and useSnares are prohibited by regulation.
HookIllegal to possess and useHooks are prohibited by regulation.
Level/stick/bar/probe/prong baited or unbaitedIllegal to possess and useThese items are all prohibited by regulation.

Measuring your rock lobster

Place one end of the measuring device firmly into the groove between the antennae and measure from this groove to the rear edge of the carapace. Hairs do not form part of the carapace. Divers are required to measure lobster at the first available opportunity before the lobster is landed.

Measuring devices are available free of charge from our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Measuring your lobster

Marking and tagging of rock lobster

All rock lobster taken by recreational fishers are to be tagged and tailed-clipped or tail-punched with a hole not less than 10 mm in diameter.

This must be done within 5 minutes of bringing the rock lobster onto a boat, or if taken from the shore, within 5 minutes of landing and within 50 m of the place of landing.

Click here to lean more about rock lobster tagging.

Lobster markings