Rock lobster industry confidence high

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The western rock lobster industry contributed more than $505 million to Western Australia’s economy in 2017.

CONFIDENCE in the economic future of the western rock lobster industry is high, with 72 per cent of fishers and stakeholders predicting a strong economic outlook for the year ahead.

Western Rock Lobster council chairman Kim Colero said a recent survey of fishers and industry stakeholders confirmed the industry was committed to ensuring sustainable growth.

In November 2016 the Lancelin Western Australia website said some 20 boats work off the Lancelin coast fishing for western rock lobsters.

Mr Colero said the industry, which contributed more than $505 million to Western Australia’s economy in 2017, had adopted a gross value of production target of $1 billion by 2028.

He said a recent survey of fishers and industry stakeholders confirmed the industry was committed to ensuring sustainable growth.

“Our industry makes a significant economic contribution to Western Australia and supports more than 2400 direct and indirect jobs,” he said.

“We are looking to the future and are confident in our ability to become a $1b industry within the next decade.

“Our fishery is managed using evidence-based, scientific research and modern technology to ensure it remains valuable and sustainable for generations to come.”

In April the Western Rock Lobster alternate funding model proposal said about 95 per cent of the western rock lobster catch was exported live through to China.

“There are strong signs that by the end of 2018 around 50 per cent of those exports could transition towards direct trade into a growing number of Chinese provinces and away from indirect (grey) trade where custody of the lobster ceases at the Vietnamese border,’’ the proposal said.

“The retention of custody all the way to the Chinese consumer creates an excellent opportunity to utilise our world first marine stewardship council (MSC) sustainability certification and other competitive advantages to increase demand for western rock lobster through in-market promotion and consumer education in partnership with processors and WA trade offices.

“Direct trade with China will grow existing markets as well as create new markets in provinces not yet supplied with western rock lobster.

“There are also new market opportunities outside China and for value-added product including portion size packaging.

“Western Rock Lobster (WRL) can play a key role in understanding markets and assisting the processing sector to reach more broadly and deeply in to new markets to grow demand and GVP.’’

The report said the WA industry wanted to leverage off other industries like tourism and agriculture.

“WRL want to increase the industry’s relationship with tourism and combine with other primary industries, such as wine, to grow the demand and value of domestic lobster consumption.

“The Lobster Shack in Cervantes is an excellent example of a lobster business that has grown the value of its product through tourism while also providing increased employment and economic activity in regional WA.’’