Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 57–87 | Cite as

Overview, opportunities and outlook for Australian spiny lobster fisheries

  • Éva E. PlagányiEmail author
  • Richard McGarvey
  • Caleb Gardner
  • Nick Caputi
  • Darren Dennis
  • Simon de Lestang
  • Klaas Hartmann
  • Geoffrey Liggins
  • Adrian Linnane
  • E. Ingrid
  • Brett Arlidge
  • Bridget Green
  • Cecilia Villanueva


Australia’s lobster fisheries are relatively small in volume (9500t) compared with global production (289,000t), but are the country’s most valuable in terms of both overall production and value of export (2014 Gross Value of Production of $610 million AUD). Further, they support commercial, recreational and indigenous fishers along most of the continent’s coastline. Here we review similarities and key differences between these lobster fisheries, based on biological characteristics, fishery data collection, assessment and management methods, and supply chain considerations. A diverse range of palinurid lobsters occur in Australia, but only three genera, distributed across eight different management jurisdictions, support significant fisheries. Catches of western rock lobster Panulirus cygnus dominate landings (61%), followed by southern rock lobster Jasus edwardsii, tropical lobster Panulirus ornatus and the eastern rock lobster Sagmariasus verreauxi. Large-scale environmental influences such as climate change are impacting on these fisheries in similar or different ways forcing new management and raising the need for greater resilience in current supply chains. Although these are separate fisheries, the integrated nature of the dominant Chinese export markets suggests potentially important economic and market-related interactions. Our overview highlights the critical role of continued monitoring of recruitment pulses, in combination with robust harvest strategies, to ensure that harvests respond adequately and fisheries achieve biological and economic sustainability. Approaches that also include socio-cultural considerations (triple bottom line) are important given many fisheries include indigenous Australians. Our integrated analysis of Australian lobster fisheries highlights differences and similarities with spiny lobster fisheries worldwide and lessons from opportunities, including adapting to new free trade agreements, enhancing the reputation of wild lobsters as a whole, sharing expertise, and better alignment of supply and demand.


Crustacean fisheries Jasus Panulirus Sagmariasus Seafood exports Supply chain 



The work reviewed in this article was funded by the CSIRO, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), the Australian Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of PIRSA, and lobster fishing industries in all state jurisdictions. We thank R. Pitcher, A. Hobday, P. Breen, M. Thiel and an anonymous reviewer for comments on an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Éva E. Plagányi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard McGarvey
    • 2
  • Caleb Gardner
    • 3
  • Nick Caputi
    • 4
  • Darren Dennis
    • 1
  • Simon de Lestang
    • 4
  • Klaas Hartmann
    • 3
  • Geoffrey Liggins
    • 5
  • Adrian Linnane
    • 2
  • E. Ingrid
    • 6
  • Brett Arlidge
    • 7
  • Bridget Green
    • 3
  • Cecilia Villanueva
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Queensland BioSciences Precinct (QBP)BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences)Henley BeachAustralia
  3. 3.Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  4. 4.Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research LaboratoriesNorth BeachAustralia
  5. 5.New South Wales Department of Primary IndustriesSydney Institute of Marine ScienceMosmanAustralia
  6. 6.CSIRO Oceans and AtmosphereHobartAustralia
  7. 7.MG Kailis Pty LtdCairnsAustralia

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