Rock lobster tagging program
The tagging of recreationally caught rock lobsters commenced 1 July 2017. All recreational fishers are now required to tag the rock lobster they catch and keep.
A primary focus for the government is to ensure ongoing access to the rock lobster resource for all sectors, and a healthy, sustainable and well-managed fishery for present and future generations to enjoy.
Previously, there has been a lack of information on how many rock lobsters are harvested by the recreational sector. The tagging program is collecting information on the numbers caught recreationally by using the number of tags used to represent the number of rock lobsters caught.
Recently, a phone survey was held to get feedback on the tagging program. You can read about the survey's results here. (PDF - 522.7 KB)
Future direction of the program
The trial has been highly successful to date and our initiative has been heralded by the Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC) and stakeholders both Nationally and Internationally. Information collected under the program is enhancing our capacity to make robust fishery management decisions that maintain a healthy, sustainable rock lobster fishery. On the back of the success of the trial, the Minister has now committed to transitioning the trial to an ongoing program. The VFA looks forward to undertaking work over the next 12 months with our key stakeholders to build on this initial success and further improve the program.
Season Summary Report
We have produced a summary report that provides an overview of data collected through Season 1 (2017/18) and Season 2 (2018/19) of the program, and comparisons between the two seasons. The data collected by recreational fishers is helping us to gain a better understanding of the recreational harvest of rock lobster, so that we can maintain a healthy, sustainable and well managed fishery into the future. Click here to view the report. (PDF - 1.5 MB)
What do I need to know about the rock lobster tagging program?
The aim of the tagging program is to enable a harvest estimate to be made to improve the sustainable management of the fishery.
Tagging your catch is mandatory
All recreationally caught rock lobster need to be tagged.
You must register and get tags before you go rock lobster fishing
This is important, as your rock lobster needs to be tagged within 5 minutes of bringing the rock lobster onto a boat, or if taken from the shore, within 5 minutes of landing and within 50m of the place of landing. You can access your online tagging account here, or alternatively click here to find out more about how to register.
You can have up to 10 tags at any one time
You must report used tags to be able to order more.
You must only use tags assigned to you
Exception: children under 18 who are under adult supervision can use the adult's tags.
Tags are transferable
Unused tags can be transferred to another registered fisher via the app or website.
You must report how your tags are used
Report used tags, including the date and location they were used and the carapace length of your catch.
Click here for a transcript of this video.
Tags are individually numbered and expire seasonally
The tagging season begins on 16 November each year and finishes on 15 November the following year.
Tags are 100% free
How do I register for rock lobster tags?
- Click here, or download the VicRLTag app (pictured right) in the App Store and Google Play
- Create an account
- Order tags
- Use tags
- Report use of tags
- Order more tags
Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, tags can only be ordered online via an RL Tagging account.
Tags are available over the counter at the following Victorian Government Offices.
- VFA Office Queenscliff, 2A Bellarine Highway, Queenscliff
- VFA Office Lakes Entrance, 10 Staunton St, Lakes Entrance
- DEDJTR Office Warrnambool, 703-709 Raglan Parade, Warrnambool.
- DELWP Office Traralgon, 71 Hotham St, Traralgon
Staff at these offices will be able to assist you in creating your account and obtaining tags. If you have already created your account, simply complete the ordering component while at the office.