Photos courtesy of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Brush up on tropical rock lobster rules

FISHERS are reminded to refresh their knowledge of the rules that apply to recreationally caught tropical rock lobster. Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Robert Ibell said a number of fishers had been found in possession of rock lobsters that had not been appropriately marked. “Recreational fishers who catch tropical rock lobsters are required to remove the central flap of the tail or puncture the flap with a hole at least 10mm in diameter,” Mr Ibell said. “This rule is in place to make it easier for recreational catch to be distinguished from commercial catch and prevent the illegal sale of rock lobster. “We’re finding fishers are simply putting a knife through the central flap, but this marking does not meet requirements. “The best way to correctly mark your rock lobsters is to remove the central flap. “If you prefer to use the hole method, you must ensure it is at least 10mm round – a 10mm round leather punch works best.”

Mr Ibell said fishers were also required to ensure any rock lobsters kept met size and possession requirements. Egg-bearing and tar-spot tropical rock lobsters are protected all year round, and must be returned to the water unharmed to ensure breeding stock is protected. Recreational fishers should also be aware that they must not possess live tropical rock lobster.

If you suspect illegal fishing, whether you see it in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. Do not approach the people involved, as this can compromise an investigation. For more information on Queensland fishing rules, visit, call 13 25 23 or download the free Qld Fishing app from Apple and Google app stores. You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).

TRL with 10 mm hole in tail

TRL with 10 mm hole in tail_close up

Size and possession limits

  • Painted crayfish (Panulirus ornatus): 11.5 cm tail minimum, 9 cm carapace minimum.
  • Other tropical rock lobster species: no size limit.
  • Possession limit: north of latitude 14º S and in Gulf waters – combined limit of 3 per person/6 per boat in total of all species. South of latitude 14° S – combined limit of 5 per person/10 per boat in total of all species.
  • Fishers must not possess live tropical rock lobsters – fishers are required to remove the central flap of the tail or puncture the flap with a hole at least 10mm in diameter.
  • Fishers must not possess egg bearing tropical rock lobsters.

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