South East SA recreational and professional lobster fishers are asked to be on the look out for white T-bar tagged lobsters.
SARDI scientists say the tagged lobsters could shed light on a new way to improve the value of the fishery and ask anyone who catches them to record their details and to return them to sea – to where they were first caught.
The SARDI team have tagged more than 4000 lobsters to see whether shifting them from deep waters to shall reef areas will change their colour from speckled white to a more valuable red shell lobster.
The success of the research depends on being able to track the progress of tagged lobsters to see if they can survive being moved from deep to shallow waters, if they do in fact change colour, and if shifted lobsters display any homing instinct.
SARDI’s Peter Hawthorne says the lobsters have been marked with white T-bar anchor tags located in the lobsters abdomen on the under-side of the tail. Each tag has a unique serial number and the words S.A. FISH.
“It will be a great help if everyone landing lobsters first checks to see if there is a tag attached and if so, to send our team these details:
“Details can be sent to myself, Peter Hawthorne: (email: email@example.com), SARDI Headquarters, 9 Krummel St, Mount Gambier, or via phone on 8735 1324 or 0429 677 597.
“SARDI Aquatic Sciences also asks that all tagged lobsters are returned to the point of catch, as it is critical to the accuracy of this study.”
Dr Hawthorne says if tagged lobsters are kept, it will still be helpful to receive the details - no questions asked.
The research is part of the rock Lobster Enhancement and Aquaculture Sub-program funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.