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Western Australia’s crayfish industry was worth $210 million to the State in 1997-98, supplying more than half the value of the $373 million Australian industry. Most of these crayfish, also known as rock lobsters, were caught for export.

The crayfish industry rapidly developed off the western coast of Australia after the Second World War as fishermen realised the value in exploiting such a high value catch. Improved storage and transportation systems allowed for the growth of this fishery from centres such as Geraldton.

Between 1950 and 1960 there was a sixfold increase in the value of Western Australia’s production of all types of fisheries, due mainly to the introduction of crayfishing. This was followed by a further doubling of value between 1960 and 1970, then a fourfold increase between 1970 and 1980. By 2000 crayfish represented 40% of the total value of Western Australia’s fishing industry, generating millions of dollars in exports.

Making the cray pots

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