Māori Name: koura
Name Scientific: Jasus edwardsii
Availability: Year round
Attributes Weight: Generally 0.6–1kg, but to over 5kg
Attributes Length: Measured by tail width – from 54mm (males) to over 100mm (large females)
The species is abundant in New Zealand and is also found across the southern coastline of Australia from Tasmania west to Albany in Western Australia. Rock lobsters are found along most rocky coastlines around New Zealand, with the main concentrations occurring along the east coasts of the North and South Islands, the south and south-west coast of the South Island, including Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands.
Rock lobsters belong to the Palinuridae family (spiny lobsters).
Red rock lobsters are caught all around the North and South Islands, Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands. Another species, the packhorse rock lobster is mainly taken in the north of the North Island. Rock lobsters are important to Maori, commercial and recreational fishers and their stock status is closely monitored. For red rock lobster stocks, periodic stock assessments have been used to develop management procedures that allow timely changes in catch limits as abundance changes. These catch adjustments have allowed stocks to rebuild rapidly when required, and target abundances have been selected to maintain high catch rates.
Rock lobsters are harvested throughout the year. In general, the lowest catches occur when Rock lobsters are moulting and mating (usually between February and May). The highest catches usually occur from June to November, with regional variations. There are nine rock lobster fisheries management areas around New Zealand. Commercial landings fluctuate at about 2,500 tonnes each season.
Did You Know
Adult rock lobsters migrate to deeper waters, sometimes travelling 20 kilometres or more, to mate and lay their eggs.
Dispatch by chilling in the freezer for at least an hour before cooking. Cooking freshly killed lobsters in boiling salted water turns the flesh from translucent to opaque. For a 600-800g lobster, boil for 10 minutes or steam for 15-18 minutes. If grilling, par-boil for 5 minutes, put into an ice bowl, remove meat and grill flesh-side down with oil or butter for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcook lobster as this will make the flesh tough - cook only until the flesh begins to turn opaque.
Ideally, lobsters should be purchased live and eaten the same day. Healthy lobsters act lively when handled. Refrigerate live lobsters in a sealed container as soon as possible, covering with a damp cloth and after they have been dispatched, cook within 12 to 18 hours. Do not allow lobsters to sit at room temperature for more than half an hour. Cooked lobster should be refrigerated and consumed within two days.