Tools & Databases

Catch & Trade Dashboards

The Catch & Trade Dashboards are two comprehensive tools that consolidate crucial data related to the West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery (WCRLMF), encompassing both catch and trade information.

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WCRLMF Catch Statistics:

Official catch data is received twice monthly by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). It provides information on entitlement landed within the West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery (WCRLMF), on a monthly and zonal basis.

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Lobster Trade Statistics:

Our dashboard also collects trade data from diverse sources, incorporating trade statistics published by the relevant countries involved in lobster trade. This information provides a comprehensive overview of the trading activities related to the West Coast Rock Lobster.

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Maximum Economic Yield (MEY) Model

WRL and DPIRD collaborated to produce an MEY model in Excel, that integrates the outputs of DPIRD’s scientific modelling of the fishery (catch and effort) with economic inputs (boat costs and lobster prices). The MEY model aims to show the range of catch levels at which the fishery as a whole can be expected to be at or near MEY in the foreseeable future.

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While useful, the Excel model had limitations in terms of its interactivity with the general user, so DPIRD created an interactive visualisation of the MEY model using “shinyApp”, an interactive web app that runs on “R”, a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. The interactive tool was used by the TACC Committee to inform deliberations for the TACC setting process for the short 2023 season and the 2023-24 season.

It is envisaged that the MEY models, in both Excel and R, will be updated to incorporate insights arising from WRL’s boat cost benchmarking initiative.

This version of the interactive tool is available for members to use, to enhance their understanding of whole-of-industry implications of changes to quota.

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Puerulus Settlement Data

The Western Rock Lobster fishery employs a long-term scientific program to predict catches and monitor breeding stock levels up to four years in advance. The program uses a monitoring system to estimate the abundance of young lobsters settling on reefs along the West Coast. The monitoring program began in 1968 and now covers eight locations between Kalbarri and Cape Mentelle. 

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Puerulus collectors, designed to mimic floating seaweed, are deployed at each sampling site to attract the settling lobsters. Settlement of puerulus occurs primarily during the dark new-moon period.

A settlement index is calculated for each site based on the number of puerulus retrieved from the collectors each month. The settlement season is considered to start in May and end in April of the following year. The seasonal average, determined by summing the monthly averages, has shown a consistent correlation with the abundance of lobsters three to four years later. Environmental factors like the Leeuwin Current, wind patterns, and water temperatures influence the survival and settlement of puerulus.

Graphs displaying the settlement data have been modified to an interactive format, allowing users to select specific sites and time spans. The graphs show the pre-2007 average, the average since 2007, and the current season's puerulus settlement. Vertical dotted lines indicate the start and end of each settlement season in May and April.

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Western Rock Lobster conducted a survey of fishers, looking at their business costs for the extended 2021-2023 season. While this type of benchmarking exercise is necessarily a “look in the rear mirror” there is considerable insight to be gained by comparing businesses over an identical time period.

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The season was far from a “normal” season, with market disruptions and significant price volatility; the extended season encompassing two whites runs; and escalating challenges including high fuel and bait prices, and problematic labour availability, amongst other factors making life interesting.

We wish to extend our thanks to those who participated, and trust that they can extract value from comparing their operations to both like-sized and different-sized operations. The businesses who contributed to the survey represented all zones in the fishery, and a large range of operated entitlement.

The visualised data begins with industry level data, and then allows some “drill down” into boat-specific data.

To protect client confidentiality, the data in the visualisations is presented as ratios – no data is present that would let an individual be identified by a third party.

While all data presented in these visualisations is confidential and individuals are non-identifiable, fishers who participate can access a code that lets them highlight their own anonymised operation’s data within the data cloud. Fishers who didn’t participate in the survey can also gain some insight into the relative performance of their business, by calculating their own relevant business ratios and comparing to the data here.

Given the short and sharp nature of the 5.5-month season ending June 30th 2023, Western Rock Lobster will commit to this benchmarking exercise again with the 2023-2024 (12-month) season.

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