East Coast Spiny Lobster

(Panulirus homarus rubellus)

Ooskusreef, East coast rock lobster, Spiny lobster

1. What is it?

East Coast Spiny Lobsters (Panulirus homarus rubellus) are slow growing, late maturing lobsters making them vulnerable to high fishing pressures. Stocks are thought to be fully fished across their entire distribution and overfished in certain localized areas.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Hand collection (Eastern Cape Only)

East Coast Spiny lobsters are fished through hand collection or polling (baited lure to which hooks are sometimes attached). This method is highly selective so bycatch and damage to the environment is minimal.

No-Sale recreational species (KwaZulu-Natal Only)

In KwaZulu-Natal, only recreational fishers with special permit may catch ECRL following a daily bag of 8 pp/pd, minimum size limit of 65 mm (carapace length) and a closed season from 1 November to end February. Recreational fishers are not allowed to sell their catches.

3. Where is it from?

Hand collection (Eastern Cape Only)

East Coast spiny lobsters can be found in warm temperate and sub-tropical waters extending from Port Elizabeth potentially as far north as Kenya. In South Africa, management is strict with only a few small-scale fisheries in the Eastern Cape containing special permits can catch them. The fishery is also limited to certain depths as SCUBA and other artificial breathing aids may not be used. In addition, restrictive measure such as a closed season (1 November – end February), minimum size limit (65 mm carapace length) and daily bag limit (8 pp/pd) have also been incorporated. However, there are challenges associated with non-compliance (i.e. people not obeying the rules and regulations) and poaching, which could add extra stress to the population. In KwaZulu-Natal they are classed as a “no sale” species.

No-Sale recreational species (KwaZulu-Natal Only)

East Coast spiny lobsters can be found in warm temperate and sub-tropical waters extending from Port Elizabeth potentially as far north as Kenya. In KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) they are listed as a “no sale” recreational catch only species. Management in KZN consists of monitoring and permit enforcement on a local scale. However, there are instances of non-compliance (i.e. people not obeying the rules and regulations) and poaching, which could add extra stress to the population.