About the Western Rock Lobster
Lobsters, crayfish, and rock lobsters are aquatic arthropods classified as crustaceans due to their external skeleton and segmented bodies. Although they share strikingly similar appearances, it’s important to note that lobsters, rock lobsters, and crayfish belong to distinct families.
The Western rock lobster, found here in Western Australia, is occasionally referred to as ‘crayfish’ or ‘crays.’ With a lifespan exceeding 20 years and the capability to grow beyond five kilograms, stringent fishing regulations, primarily aimed at preserving the breeding stock, result in the infrequent retention of specimens exceeding three kilograms by fishermen. This lobster species is a member of the spiny lobster family, named for the numerous small spines pointing forward on their body and carapace. Their distinctive features include two large antennae extending from their head, crucial for navigation as well as serving as essential defensive weapons and communication tools.
Read more about them in this Department of Fisheries fact sheet. Brochures are also kept in the foyer of the Clubhouse.
Guide to cooking Western Rock Lobster
You may have your cooking method all sorted, but if you haven’t, here’s a cooking guide.
If you buy a live rock lobster, place it in the freezer or ice slurry for 30 minutes to anaesthetise it (it will go to sleep/be rendered senseless).
Bring a large pot of salted water (about 17g per litre) to the boil and then add the anaesthetised lobster. Approximate cooking time:
400g to 600g: 8-10 minutes
600g to 800g: 9-12 minutes
800g to 1kg: 12-15 minutes and a further minute for every 100 grams over that.
Remove and drain. If serving cold later, cool the lobster in an ice slurry to halt the cooking process.
Thawed frozen crays should be added to the pot and brought to the boil, 8 to 11 minutes should do medium-sized 600-800g.
Steaming is a more gentle process of cooking the meat and many believe it preserves more flavour than the boiling method.
Cooking time guide on a medium heat
400 gm = 10 – 12 mins
500 gm = 12 – 14 mins
600+ gm = 14 – 17 mins
BBQ / Grill
Split the Lobster into 2 neat halves using a good knife or cleaver and wash away the internals in the head; be careful not to wash the flesh with fresh water. Always start grilling with the lobster shell side down on the grill. An average-sized lobster takes around 5 minutes to grill – as the meat cooks the flesh should turn white. Turn the lobster for the final minute or two onto the fleshy side. Finally flip it back and continue to baste the lobster with your desired marinade (eg. garlic, olive oil or butter etc)
Freezing: Lobsters can be kept frozen for up to 6 months
Thawing: Immerse lobsters in a sink of cool water for half hour or so; larger lobsters may need longer or can be left in the fridge overnight to thaw
Credit: Western Rock Lobster
Keen to start crayfishing?
Crayfishing supplies are avaliable at Anglers Fishing World including crayfish bait, crayfish pots and accessories all available with 10% off storewide (except already discounted items).
Anglers Fishing World is located at 24 Mews Road, Fremantle.