Tropical Rocklobster

Tropical Rocklobster

tropical rocklobster


When Caught

Eastern & southern rocklobsters: year round, but various closures for southern rocklobster in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia

Western rocklobster: supplies peak from December through May; closure occurs from July through November

Tropical rocklobster

Important Features

Wild/Farmed Wild

Habitat Saltwater

Recovery Rate Flesh: 35% of total weight, Tail meat: 33% of total weight, sometimes up to 42% Large rocklobsters have massive bodies and yield proportionally less meat in the tail.


Western rocklobsters are mostly exported due to the large production, and less than 10% is consumed in Australia.

Tropical rocklobsters are considered the best for sashimi.

Do not buy uncooked, chilled rock-lobster as it is hard to know how much time has passed since it died.

Imports Chile, Cuba, Mexico and New Zealand: tails and whole cooked (chilled and frozen); some live from New Zealand New Guinea and Pacific Island nations: frozen, uncooked tails

Overseas Names J: nishikiebi; USA: ornate spiny lobster

Alternatives blue swimmer crab mud crab spanner crab bug

Grading Grading can vary by supplier and region. An example of a grading system for rocklobster is presented below. Some of the smaller grades may be unavailable because of minimum legal size restrictions.

Nutrition Facts

per 100g of raw product

Kilojoules 462 (110 Calories)
Cholesterol 62 mg
Sodium 175 mg
Total fat (oil) 0.8 g
Saturated fat 33% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 24% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 43% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 46 mg
Omega-3, DHA 33 mg
Omega-6, AA 80 mg

Data presented are for western rocklobster

Cooking Ideas

Grill/barbecue Poach Raw
Shallow Fry   Steam/microwave

Rocklobster flesh is firm, with a sweet medium and rich taste; it retains its shape in most styles of cooking.

Poached, baked or barbecued, grilled, steamed, or sliced for sashimi, rock-lobsters make an excellent seafood dish. However, guard against over-cooking or the meat will become tough and leathery. Rocklobsters have excellent presentation potential, so take care not to damage the legs and head.

Traditional sauces to accompany rocklobster are thermidor and New-burg, but suggestions for other complementary tastes abound. Try sweet corn, citrus fruits, chillies, tarragon butter sauces, garlic and white wine, or coconut mild curries, or combine in quenelles and mousselines. Prepare as a bisque or serve in a salad with other seafood, or on its own with fresh green peppercorns and char-grilled pineapple.

If cooking rocklobster in liquid, try a court bouillon instead of water.

Flavour Medium

Oiliness Low

Moisture Moist

Texture Medium to Firm

Flesh Colour Translucent when raw. When cooked, the flesh is white and opaque with orange tinges and the shell turns red.

Price Rocklobsters are highly sought after and therefore often highly priced. Price is usually a reflection of available supply, not quality. However, export grade rocklobster is always of high quality and high price.

Edibility Flesh is found mainly in the tail. The legs of large rocklobsters also contain flesh.

Carapace (or spiders cleaned cara-pace with legs and antennae still attached) can be used for flavouring soups or sauces and in poaching liquids.

Suggested Wines

For rocklobster thermidor, a flavoursome chardonnay or a wooded sauvignon blanc balances the mustard flavours. Rocklobster Newburg, with a wine and bisque style sauce, also calls for a robust style, while rocklobster served as a salad is best with a delicate riesling..