Lobster Industry

Background

The Southern Rock Lobster Fishery is approximately 130 years old. It is co-managed with PIRSA. Prior to 2003 it was an input fishery and it was a timed fishery, with the season from November – May – 210 days. In 2003 the fishery went to a quota system. In the early days the allowable catch was 800 – 1000 tonne a year. Quota was introduced in 2003 with 600 tonnes and now it sits at 345 tonnes and is building. Currently boats typically work 80 and 100 days to fulfil quota. The fishery has gone from 68 boats to 33 boats.

The Southern Rock Lobster fishery is a very sustainable fishery and its license holders are proud of their clean, green, audited fishery.

Job Information

Types of jobs

Deckhand or skipper – most cray boats only have two people.

There is also work in factories, factory hands, truck drivers, pack out crews, sales and marketing of crayfish, involvement in the management of the fishery.

Seasonality

November to May, but it may be extended over the whole year. The season is managed with PIRSA.

Typical wage range

Wages are based on % of catch and varies according to experience.

Hours

Five hours to 10 or 12 hours, 6am to 4pm. Seasonal at this point.

Special conditions

Currently a seven month season, with often three to five days at sea, with one night off.

Experience and qualifications essential/desirable

Not prone to seasickness and experience on boats desirable. Easy work but physical.

Many get coxswains and engineers tickets. Skippers need master five. Most deckhands get first aid and deckhand certificates.

Best part of the job

Working in the natural environment. Seasonality is appealing as it allows for other work in the off season.

There is an opportunity to progress to working on bigger boats and to get relevant tickets, including engineer tickets. More skills means you can apply to work in other industries and potentially make big money in the off season.