Spiny Lobster

First Choice
Scientific name
Panulirus ornatus
Australia (Queensland)
Production method
IUCN status
Least concern
Stock status

In Torres Strait, the most recent stock assessment in 2017 estimated the total weight of the fish stocks old enough to spawn at 76% of the unfished level. While in Queensland, the most recent stock assessment estimated that biomass at the start of 2008 was 60–70% of the unfished level. It’s unclear whether coral bleaching causing the loss of coral cover will have longer term impacts on rock lobster productivity. A recovery plan has been developed and is being effectively implemented.

Ecological effects

Hand-picking fishing methods allow careful selection of catch, and the fishery has little direct impact on the habitat or other fish species. There are no endangered, threatened, protected (ETP) species interactions in the fisheries.


Fisheries in the Torres Strait are managed on behalf of the Protected Zone Joint Authority by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), the Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and the Torres Strait Regional Authority.  Queensland fisheries are managed by the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP). Management in the Torres Strait covers random in-port vessel inspections. Fisheries officers are required to submit intelligence reports to the AFMA outlining any suspected breaches or significant information while working in the field. Queensland management covers quarterly compliance reports to track its monitoring and enforcement activities, while Compliance Risk Assessment (CRA) is undertaken to identify compliance priorities for the majority of Queensland’s fisheries.