Rock Lobster (all species)
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.
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/s||Rock Lobster|
|Scientific name||Palinuridae including eastern rock lobster (green crays), Sagmariasus verreauxi, Jasus edwardsii (southern rock lobster)|
|Minimum legal size||Male: 11 cm carapace length|
Female: 10.5 cm carapace length
See below to learn how to measure rock lobsters.
2 tagged and tail-clipped lobster (see below to read about tail clipping rock lobster)
The possession limit for rock lobster in, on or next to any Victorian waters is 4 tagged and tail-clipped rock lobster.
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
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
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:
- by hand only using snorkel or captive air (scuba or hookah)
- by using up to 2 hoop nets from a boat
- by hand or using up to 2 hoop nets from shore. Hoop nets must be no wider than 77cm in diameter with a drop of 50cm. Click here to learn more about using equipment in marine waters.
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 boat||Legal to possess and use||Legal when used from the shore and boat only.|
|Hoop nets while snorkelling or diving||Illegal to possess and use||Hoop nets are not legal equipment when used when underwater diving or snorkelling for rock lobster.|
|Bait only (held in hand)||Legal to possess and use||Bait must not be attached to anything. It must only be held in your hand.|
|Spear gun/hand-held spear||Legal 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.|
|Torch||Legal 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 use||Chemicals cannot be squirted into crevices. The use of chemicals in marine water is also illegal under environmental legislation.|
|Snare/gaff||Illegal to possess and use||Snares are prohibited by regulation.|
|Hook||Illegal to possess and use||Hooks are prohibited by regulation.|
|Level/stick/bar/probe/prong baited or unbaited||Illegal to possess and use||These 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.
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.