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Western Rock Lobster Market Report | February 2021

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Please read on for updated information regarding catches in the western rock lobster fishery, processing of western rock lobster, rock lobster exports from Australia and New Zealand, and lobster imports for China.

Catch Data for the Western Rock Lobster Fishery

The most recent ‘Catch Balance Graph By Zone (Warehouse)’ report was generated by DPIRD on 16 March 2021. It provides information on entitlement landed within the West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery (WCRLMF), on a monthly and zonal basis.

If you have any queries in relation to the report, please e-mail QMSAdmin@fish.wa.gov.au or contact the Rock Lobster Help Line 1300 574 071.

WCRLMF landed catch, monthly
WCRLMF landed catch, northern zones, monthly

 

WCRLMF landed catch, Zone C, monthly

 

WCRLMF landed catch, November-February 2021

 

 

Processing of western rock lobster

The ongoing disruption of trade with China resulted in a dramatic reduction in catch for November 2020, then an increased focus on processing into whole cooked and green tails to supply domestic and alternative export markets over the holiday season. However, the processing industry appears to still be directing a fair proportion of the catch to live sales, albeit on relatively overall low volumes. February 2021 processing returns to DPIRD showed 61 per cent of the catch processed as live, with the remainder almost equally split between whole cooked and green tails. Processors are doubtless appreciating the reduced cooking volumes after the Christmas rush. While the percentage of live sales has increased, the absence of the China market continues to weigh on beach prices.

Western rock lobster production, volume of processing by product type, season to February 2021

 

Western rock lobster production, proportion of processing by product type, season to February 2021

 

 

Rock lobster exports from Australia

Detailed international trade data for January 2021 were released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier in the month. Readily apparent over the recent months of data has been the shift towards overseas markets other than China (principally Hong Kong and Taiwan) for the live export of western rock lobster. Overall, quantities and prices are well below the corresponding period of late-2019 and early-2020 (before the impact of COVID-19).

 

Western Australia exports of rock lobster, value by product form and destination, monthly

 

Western Australia exports of non-frozen rock lobster, quantity by destination, November-December 2019 and November-December 2020

 

Western Australia exports of non-frozen rock lobster, quantity by destination, January 2020 and January 2021

 

Australia exports of non-frozen rock lobster, quantity and unit value by origin, monthly

 

 

Preliminary trade data for February 2021 are also now available. While data are only available at the divisional (i.e. two-digit) level of the Standard International Trade Classification (Revision 4), WRL has developed a method for estimating the value of rock lobster exports on the basis of data for ’03 Fish (not marine mammals), crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic invertebrates and preparations thereof’.

 

WRL estimate of rock lobster exports from Australia based on preliminary ABS data, February

 

 

Rock lobster exports from New Zealand

Detailed trade data for February 2021 were released by Statistics New Zealand earlier this week. New Zealand rock lobster has been realising particularly high prices in China over recent months, reflecting the ongoing absence of Australian rock lobster in this market.

New Zealand exports of lobster, value by product type and destination, monthly

 

New Zealand exports of rock lobster to China, quantity and unit value, monthly

 

 

Lobster imports for China

Detailed trade data for February 2021 were released by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China last week. Of particular note are the increased prices for non-frozen rock lobster from New Zealand (consistent with data presented in the previous section) and for non-frozen spiny lobster from the Americas.

China imports of lobster, value by product type, monthly

 

China imports of non-frozen spiny lobster, quantity by origin, January and February

 

China imports of non-frozen spiny lobster, unit value by origin, January and February