DOC is running a red rock lobster tagging project and needs your help to find out more about the lobsters in the Pohatu Marine Reserve area.

Get involved with our tagging project

Red rock lobster (also known as crayfish or koura) can be found in the Pohatu Marine Reserve area. Become a part of DOC's tagging project to help us find out the movement patterns and growth rates of these lobster.

Tagging commenced in early 2010, and lobsters have been tagged in and around the marine reserve. Further tagging is planned.

Why are we tagging?

Lobsters are being tagged to study their movement patterns within the reserve. Determining the average home-range size of lobster will allow an estimate of how many reside in the reserve and how they are dispersed in relation to lobster in the Banks Peninsula fishery outside the reserve. Tagging may also allow estimates of lobster growth rates within and outside the marine reserve.

Rock lobster tag. Photo: G Carbine.
Rock lobster tag

What do the tags look like?

The T-bar anchor tags are yellow, plastic, about 5 cm long and located on the back of the lobster between the carapace and the tail. They have the letters DOC on them, along with a local phone number to call.

What to do if you see or catch a tagged lobster?

For every tagged lobster you catch or see, the department would appreciate it if you recorded the following information:

  • where it was caught or seen (a GPS position is very useful if possible)
  • when it was caught (date)
  • the number on the tag
  • sex (male or female)
  • tail width and carapace length
  • your name and contact details.

Rock lobster/koura. Photo: D Freeman.
Tagged rock lobster

Where do I send the information?

The details of any tagged lobster that you see or catch can be:

  • brought into the Akaroa Field Base (13 Pawsons Road, Duvauchelle), or the DOC Mahaanui Area Office in Christchurch (31 Nga Mahi Rd, Sockburn, Christchurch)
  • posted to (no stamp required)
    FREEPOST 216307
    Department of Conservation
    PO Box 35
    Duvauchelle 7545
  • Emailed to

Can I keep the tagged lobster?

It is illegal to take any lobster from the Pohatu Marine Reserve, and any lobster outside the reserve that is undersize, not measurable, is damaged, carrying eggs (berried) or has a soft shell. The minimum legal takeable size for male rock lobsters is a tail width of 54 mm. For females the minimum legal takeable size is a tail width of 60 mm. The maximum takeable limit is six lobsters per person per day.

If you catch a tagged, legal lobster outside the reserve, you are not obligated to return it to the sea. However, if you do we will be able to obtain more information about its growth and movement patterns. If you choose to return it, please ensure that you record the required information (see above) and get this to us.


Akaroa office
Phone: +64 3 304 5123

Mahaanui Office 
Phone: +64 3 341 9100


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