Fishers participating in an IMAS two-pots (2POTS) research program are contributing important data for estimating the biomass of recruits into the Tasmanian Rock Lobster Fishery for the next season, and ultimately playing a vital role in the sustainable management of the fishery.
To carry out stock assessments and ultimately set a total allowable catch (TAC), researchers need data describing the size structure of the resources. While commercial pots are designed with escape gaps to allow undersize individuals to escape, this provides an incomplete picture.
In the 2POTS program, voluntary fishers are issued permits to carry two extra pots with the standard escape gaps closed. They record and measure all lobsters captured by these two pots and can keep all legal-size lobsters caught.
Along with annual IMAS research trips at fixed sites around Tasmania, the 2POT program is designed to collect additional data on the whole stock size structure.
(Image, right: spatial distribution of set research pots per fishing block in the last fishing season. Blocks with <50 pots (light blue) require more sampling effort.)
An added benefit is that the data fishers collect comes from all around Tasmania and over the entire quota year, so researchers can better understand and describe the spatial and temporal variations of lobster size and the biomass of pre-recruits.
While fisher participation in 2POTS has been declining in recent years from 60 vessels in 2015 to 30 in the current season, recent promotion has seen 38 operators already issued with a DPIPWE permit to carry two pots in the 2020/21 season.
Fishers interesting in participating in the program can talk to James Parkinson at DPIPWE on 6165 3045 or email email@example.com.
Interested in this project?