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Back of Boat Lobsters – Frequently Asked Questions

What are ‘Back of Boat’ sales?

  • ‘Back of boat’ sales allow fishers using FishEye/CatchER to undertake their own direct sales of lobster to businesses or people.
  • Fishers must be registered for and use FishEye/CatchER for their trip nominations to participate.

How many lobsters can be consigned for ‘back of boat’ sales per landing?

  • Fishers are permitted to land up to 200 back of boat lobsters per trip and 400 per trip during the month of December.
  • Fishers are permitted to consign up to 50 back of boat lobsters to a registered receiver per trip.
  • There is no possession limit for back of boat.

How do I report the lobster landed under the ‘back of boat’ sales mechanism?

  • The number of lobsters and number of containers being landed under this mechanism needs to be indicated in the Pre-Landing nomination made via FishEye/CatchER.
  • Lobsters are to be landed in secured containers with no more than four WCRL Landing Tags attached and weighed by the fisher upon entering an Approved Landing Area.
  • For A Zone (Abrolhos Islands) the consignment must be weighed when removing the lobsters from a Designated Holding Area or delivering lobsters to a Carrier Boat.
  • Fishers are required to report the weight of the ‘Back of boat’ lobsters as a separate consignment.
  • ‘Back of boat’ sales need to be weighed as the first consignment.

Will the total weight of the lobsters caught under the ‘back of boat’ sales mechanism come off my entitlement?

  • Yes, the weight reported by the master in the Post-Landing nomination will be deducted from the entitlement held on the licence.

Who can I sell ‘back of boat’ lobsters to?

  • Under the back of boat sales mechanism, you can sell back of boat lobsters to people or businesses; for example, a fisher can sell on a retail basis to a member of the public, or on a wholesale basis to a restaurant or fish shop. However, there is a limit of 50 back of boat lobsters that can be sold to a registered receiver per trip.

If organised the day before and the buyer does not arrive to collect their order, what mechanism is there to keep your lobster?

Can I sell ‘back of boat’ lobsters to more than one person?

How do fishermen know if a person buying Back of Boat lobsters is a Registered Receiver, or not?

  • A fisher should ask the person if they suspect they might be a Registered Receiver.

Can I retain ‘back of boat’ lobsters for my own use?

  • Yes, fishers can retain these lobsters for their own use; if not sold. Written evidence must be kept detailing the Managed Fishery Licence number under which the lobster was taken and the quantity of lobster.

Are there requirements for how personally retained ‘back of boat’ lobsters have to be kept (i.e. frozen)?

  • No, there are no requirements.

Do I have to put the ‘back of boat’ sales lobsters into secured containers?

  • Yes, lobsters are to be held in secured containers with no more than four WCRL tags attached prior to entering and Approved Landing Area. The containers must remain secured with tags until 10 minutes after the weight is reported.

Will the tags be the same tag for a Registered Receiver, or a separate lot of tags for ‘back of boat’ lobsters?

  • Masters should use their normal Landing Tags on containers with ‘back of boat’ lobsters.
  • NOTE: Different labelling requirements for ‘back of boat’ containers are under consideration and further advice will be provided.

Can I take lobsters out of my Designated Holding Area for ‘back of boat’ sales without consigning all the other lobsters I am holding?

  • No. All lobsters must be landed from the DHA/boat and weighed on the one occasion.

Do ‘back of boat’ lobsters need to be held in secured containers if being transported after weighing?

  • No. Tags can be removed 10 minutes after the weight is reported and then ‘back of boat’ lobsters don’t need to be held or transported in secured containers, except on a Carrier Boat.

Can I use Registered Receiver scales to weigh ‘back of boat’ lobsters?

  • Yes, fishers are permitted to use scales owned by Registered Receivers to weigh the back of boat lobsters consignment; so long as the scales are located outside of the building, and the Master remains in control of the containers. Fishers are permitted to consign up to 50 back of boat lobsters to a registered receiver per trip.

Can ‘back of boat’ lobsters be transported by someone else?

  • Yes, a person transporting ‘back of boat’ lobster must have a receipt, transport docket or other documentation regarding the rock lobster in the person’s actual possession.
  • The documentation must show the weight or number or rock lobster being transported; and that the rock lobster being transported were lawfully purchased or obtained.
  • ‘Back of boat’ lobsters can be transported in any number.
  • ‘Back of boat’ lobsters can be transported on a Carrier Boat in a secured container with no more than four WCRL Landing Tags attached.

Do I need to provide a receipt to the buyer of the ‘back of boat’ lobsters?

  • Yes, the Master must issue a receipt to the purchaser. The receipt needs to include all the elements of a ‘tax invoice’ (including the quantity of lobsters); as well as the Managed Fishery Licence Number (WCLL).

Do I need to provide any paperwork to someone who I gift ‘back of boat’ lobsters?

  • Yes, you need to provide paperwork which includes the Managed Fishery Licence Number (WCLL) and the quantity of the lobster which has been gifted.

What are the Abrolhos Islands (A Zone) specific arrangements for ‘back of boat’ sales?

  • Fishers may either bring the ‘back of boat’ lobsters ashore for their own use, and/or a consignment of these lobsters may be transported to the mainland by Carrier Boat in secured containers with no more than four WCRL Landing Tags attached.

Do I need to tail clip ‘back of boat’ lobsters?

  • No.

What if I cannot submit my trip nominations via FishEye/CatchER for my ‘back of boat’ sales lobsters? (i.e. If Fish Eye/CatchER System is unavailable)

  • If you are in the middle of a trip with ‘back of boat’ lobsters and FishEye/CatchER becomes unavailable you must revert to IVR/CDR to complete the trip.
  • When you make the IVR Post-Landing call for ‘back of boat’ lobsters you will need to select the same Registered Receiver Number that you would have selected on your first consignment. (This number will not be recorded on the CDR).
  • You will need to record the ‘back of boat’ lobsters as a separate consignment on a separate CDR. You must indicate that this is ‘back of boat’ lobsters by recording BoB in the Registered Receiver Number in Part 1D of the CDR Form.
  • You must also record that the consignment is for ‘back of boat’ lobsters in the comments section on Part 1E of the CDR Form along with a count of those lobster.

If I’m selling ‘back of boat’ lobsters wholesale (i.e. to a restaurant or fish retailer); can I process the lobsters before selling them?

  • Should a Master wish to process the lobsters (i.e. cooking, freezing, tailing etc.) prior to selling wholesale they may need a Fish Processor’s Licence and should contact the Department.

If you have any operational or compliance questions, or you are unsure about how to complete a form, or how to use CatchER / FishEye, you can call the FishEye Support Helpline: 1300 550 763 during office hours or email Fisheye at