Snapshot in Time: Evolution of the local rock lobster industry

Lorin CoxGeraldton Guardian
Rock lobster carrier boat, the Mitchell, owned by the Fiocco family, returning catch to Geraldton in 1949.
Camera IconRock lobster carrier boat, the Mitchell, owned by the Fiocco family, returning catch to Geraldton in 1949. Credit: Courtesy of Arthur (Tinny) Bombara

The Western Rock Lobster industry has played an influential role in the growth of Geraldton and the Mid West region.

To service the expanding lobster fishing industry, the Geraldton Fisherman’s Harbour was opened in 1963 at the western end of the existing shipping harbour.

Lobster fishing, once seasonal running from mid-November to the end of June, has undergone many changes while striving to achieve sustainability. The season now operates on a quota system which allows crayfishers more flexibility in regard to the days that they choose to fish, often determined by market fluctuations.

A limited number of fishers own a licence to fish from the Abrolhos Islands in a season previously lasting from mid-March to the end of June.

In years past carrier boats were regularly engaged to courier the catch from the Islands to Geraldton.

The implementation of the extended season prompted many Island crayfishers to invest in bigger holding tanks on board, reducing reliance on carrier boats.

Prior to the development of the Geraldton Fisherman’s Harbour, fishing vessels and carrier boats moored directly out from the Geraldton wharf where they also delivered their catch.

Snapshots is an initiative of the Geraldton Regional Library. For more information, or to donate a historical photo or slide contact 9956 6659 or library@cgg.wa.gov.au

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