Ornate Rock Lobster Pamulirus Ornatus

Distribution: The Ornate (or Painted) Rock Lobster has a wide geographical range in the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea and KwaZulu-Natal in the west to Japan and Fiji in the east. In most parts of its range, the lobster is netted or speared, while in Northeast Australia, a commercial fishery has existed since 1966 and the harvesting of the species is regulated by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The species now also occurs in the Mediterranean, having invaded as a Lessepsian migrant through the Suez Canal.

Ornate Rock Lobster populations in northern Queensland, the Coral Sea and the Torres Strait are thought to comprise a single North-Eastern Australian biological stock, as a result of mixing of larvae in the Coral Sea. Water movement models in Torres Strait predict that larvae are likely to be transported into the Gulf of Carpentaria, indicating that the north-eastern stock encompasses this region as well. Stock assessments have not been carried out for the complete biological stock, but have been conducted on the various parts of it. Although Ornate Rock Lobster is also present in northern Western Australia, biological stock structures in this region have not been studied and the relationship with the North-eastern Australian stock is unknown.

Size: Reaching maturity at 2 to 3 years the Ornate Rock Lobster reaches about 10cm reaching a maximum length of some 15cm at 3 to 5 years