WA's most valuable fishery Western Rock Lobster

Hear all about it!

Western Rock Lobsters is one of about 8 species of rock lobster found in WA’s waters. It only occurs in continental shelf waters off the Australian west coast and is common in the waters off Rottnest Island.

These animals feed mostly at night and live together in big groups in and amongst the limestone and coral reefs. They hide in caves or under ledges, often living in groups in bigger caves. Their thick armour and spiny surface helps protect them from predators but sheltering in numbers offers greater protection. When attacked, the lobster or group of lobsters will back into a cave with their spines and spiky antennae pointing aggressively forward.

These antennae are also vital for the lobster to find its way around and a communication tool. Western Rock Lobsters grow slowly taking five years to reach maturity and some of the large lobsters may be up to 30 years old or more. They are the target of WA’s largest and most valuable fishery.

Threats include; overfishing and pollution.

Where you can find a Western Rock Lobster

Conservation Status

The waters around Rottnest Island are a designated Marine Reserve. Also, some parts of Rottnest’ reefs are included the Marine Sanctuary Zones shown in the Rottnest Island Marine Management Strategy (2007).

WA fishing regulations state the minimum size limit for Western Rock Lobsters is a 76 mm carapace (the shield covering the lobster’s body excluding tail). The bag limit for this species is 8 per day.

  • Extinct
  • Extinct in Wild
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Near Threatened
  • Least Concerned

Help keep Rottnest’s beaches and reefs healthy

  • Do Not stand on reef and coral while snorkelling or diving
  • Do adhere to fishing limits
  • Do anchor only in sandy areas of water
  • Do take litter with you or use bins provided
  • Do collect fishing line if seen in ocean or on shores