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Western Rock Lobster Market Report | September 2020


Please read on for updated information regarding western rock lobster catches for the 2020/2021 season and lobster imports into China during 2020. This month’s market content also discusses an update by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of its global outlook for lobster.


Western Rock Lobster Catch Data for the 2020/2021 Season to Date

The ‘Catch Balance Graph By Zone (Warehouse)’ report is prepared twice-monthly by DPIRD. It provides information on entitlement landed within the West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery (WCRLMF), on a monthly and zonal basis.

Please note that the data presented do not necessarily represent all fishing activity for the period, particularly with reference to delays in receiving and entering catch data from fishers and processors.


WCRLMF landed catch, monthly


WCRLMF landed catch, monthly, northern zones


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


Update of Data for China Imports of Lobster during 2020

Data from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) provides an illustration of the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been having on the international trade in lobster. More detail regarding the international trade in lobster, including China imports, will be presented in the forthcoming WRL report, An overview of global lobster production and international trade.


China imports of non-frozen spiny lobster, quantity by origin, monthly


Please note that WRL has been consulting market sources regarding the emergence in the China data of imports from Vietnam. We are assessing whether, or the extents to which, this reflects a genuine increase or a statistical artefact.


China imports of non-frozen spiny lobster, quantity and unit value, by origin, monthly



FAO GLOBEFISH Updates Global Outlook for Lobster

The FAO recently released its quarterly update of the global outlook for lobster, with a focus on impacts and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Items of interest include:

Canada fared relatively better than the USA in the first quarter of 2020, with exports to China falling 14 per cent, compared to the USA with a fall of 46 per cent. Canada’s (relative) success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic may have been a contributing factor. This is superimposed on a situation where Canada has been gaining market share at the expense of the United States since 2017.

While Australian and New Zealand exports to China fell dramatically in the first quarter, their situation with respect to exports is perhaps more favourable than it is for the United States, owing to careful preventative measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19, which makes the supply chain that much more manageable.

The main takeaway message is that the outlook for the rest of 2020 is uncertain. While demand in key export markets has picked up since the early days of the pandemic, the overall level of demand is lower than at this time last year; and while markets are moving towards absorbing almost-normal trade volumes the expectation is that prices will remain under pressure well into 2021.