International tourists have a growing appetite for Western Australia’s most iconic seafood, delivering a multi-million-dollar boost to the local tourism industry.
New research reveals the western rock lobster fishery is generating $6.6 million for the tourism sector annually.
Western Rock Lobster CEO Matt Taylor said tourism is a key sector for the lobster industry and has significant growth potential based on the success of the small number of examples currently.
“Our industry already contributes more than $500 million to the WA economy but we want to see that contribution grow to over $1 billion,” Mr Taylor said.
“The domestic sale and export of western rock lobster generates opportunities across the economy including boat building, seafood processing, transport and tourism,” Mr Taylor said.
“Western rock lobster tourism generates $6.6 million for our local economy, showing there is a strong appetite nationwide and worldwide for our industry to further promote this premium product.”
A recently released Economic Contribution report by research group ACIL Allen, revealed tourism associated with the industry generated jobs for coastal communities.
“In regional towns like Cervantes there are more than 60 direct jobs associated with the promotion of the western rock lobster fishery to local and international tourists,” Mr Taylor said.
“The Lobster Shack in Cervantes is a fantastic example of how fishermen are promoting the industry through tourism experiences.
“The business, which includes a fleet of boats, a lobster processing plant and a restaurant, attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year.
“Owned and operated by several generations of the Thompson family, the business offers guided tours of the plant, boat charters and a beachside dining experience with rock lobster on the menu.”
Mr Taylor said the State Government is investing in a range of tourism opportunities including culinary events to exhibit Western Australia’s iconic local produce.
“Tourism Minister Paul Papalia is looking to host multiple food and wine festivals across the state, including a seafood festival at Rottnest Island,” Mr Taylor said.
“This will create further opportunities for us to showcase our iconic western rock lobster to the broader community.”
The Government is also exploring tourism opportunities in the mid-west region, including the Abrolhos Islands which is a key area for western rock lobsters.
“We are keen to work with the Government to bring more tourists to the Abrolhos Islands while conserving the pristine environment which supports our industry,” Mr Taylor said.