Recreational lobster fishers on hook for higher fees

Fees to register amateur lobster pots are rising at the same time as the new Labor State Government has promised to reduce licence charges for the professional sector.

All registered lobster pots used by recreational fishers expire at the end of this month.

Persons over the age of 15 may register up to two pots and re-registration must be undertaken each year.

The 2022/23 fee was published in the SA Government Gazette on Thursday and is $82 for one pot and $227 for two pots.

The current season’s fees are $80.50 and $223.

The pots can be used in the Southern Zone and seasonal, size and catch limits apply.

A numbered tag issued by PIRSA Fisheries must be attached to the top of the rope near the red floating buoy, so that it is visible above the surface of the water, when the pot is in use.

In the case of a lost or stolen tag, an application to PIRSA Fisheries for a replacement tag to be issued is necessary and a fee must be paid.

Ahead of the March election, the Labor Party announced a policy of cheaper licence fees for the professional sector.

Although it has lost its lucrative export market to China, premium prices in excess of $80,000 per professional lobster pot entitlement are still being achieved in the Southern Zone.

This values the 40-pot minimum professional licence at $3.2m.

In reality, there have been no new boats enter the fishery for many years with the pot entitlements instead purchased by the zone’s current 165-strong fleet.

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