White run crayfish shed their red shell and show a new layer of pinkish white. Photo RecfishwestWA’s Western Rock Lobster is a renowned delicacy – but good luck if you want to buy one locally.
The vast majority of the state’s commercial crayfish catch is usually exported to China where it fetches premium prices, leaving the coolroomvirtually bare back home.
But now, for the first time, the state government is allowing a trial that will see commercial fishers allowed to catch and tag up to 50extra lobsters on top of their quotas for sale direct to the local market.
Fisheries Minister Joe Francis estimates the trial will bring in about eight tonnes, or 12,500 extra western rock lobsters for sale in WA through fishing boats or onrestaurant menus.
“For some time now, there have been concerns raised about the limited availability of western rock lobsters for coastal communities and local seafood retailers, including restaurants, ” Mr Francis said.
“With more lobster available for locals, plus sustainably managed fisheries producing great prawns, crabs,finfishand other ocean delights, I urge everyone to buy some WA seafood to share for Christmas.”
The Minister said the trial will not impact the sustainability of WA’s crayfish population, which has been boosted in recent years through the introduction of commercialfishing quotas.
The price of crayfish is hovering around the $50 a kilo mark, but could risein the lead up to Christmas when demand surges.
Commercial fishermen will be able to see extra western rock lobsters direct to the WA public. Photo Jared Buckingham
The crayfish trial comes as the recreational season heats up with the ‘white run’ drawing scores of fishers to the waters off Perth.
The white run is when western rocks shed their distinctive red shells and turn a pinkish white colour, and is when the bulk of the recreational catch will be taken.
By all accounts, the coming weekend will be very busy down at the boat rampsas crayfishers seek to haul in their pots on the last weekend before Christmas.