GFC prefers Fisher’s warn the relevant depot as far in advance as possible with the following detail:
GFC maintains a CCTV system to ensure quality assurance and control over the grading process. Fishermen are encouraged to view the grading process at the Geraldton or Fremantle sites to verify the grades and weights shown on their catch dockets. Catch Dockets are usually emailed to fishermen within one hour of grading being finalised. Occasionally a docket may be placed in a holding queue if irregularities are detected. Held dockets will be reviewed and are usually released within 24 h. The following deductions are listed on the GFC docket:
The points of contact for queries relating to CDRs are:
Fishermen wishing to escalate CDR or GFC docket concerns can contact Glen Davidson, General Manager Operations
0427 218 019
GFC’s lobster weight grades are tabled below:
Lobster Weight (g)
|2nd grade||All sizes with defects|
Lobsters will be graded as Second Grade for the following reasons:
A Premium Brolos lobster is one that has:
When viewed through the flexible membrane under the tail, the tail meat of a lobster with Cotton Tail appears white and resembles that of a cooked lobster (Fig. 5). While the cause of this condition is poorly understood, thankfully it is relatively rare. Whether eaten cooked or raw, the flesh of these animals is unappealing. The weight of any Cotton Tail lobsters found at grading will be deducted from the catch (i.e. have zero value) as they are not suitable for sale in any form.
Figure 3: Example of a lobster with Cotton Tail.
Any soft-shelled lobsters consigned will be downgraded to Second Grade at intake. Even though these lobsters may look strong when consigned, our customers clearly tell us that soft-shelled lobsters do not perform well during and following live export. This problem has also been recognized in other species, such as the Southern Rocklobster. While it’s difficult to give precise guidance on what a soft-shelled lobster is, the guiding principle is to reject any lobster that is “noticeably soft”. You and your crew handle thousands of lobsters each season and are perfectly qualified to make this assessment. GFC’s grading staff check shell hardness by gently squeezing the sides of the head between thumb and forefinger in the area where the white line runs the length of the head (Fig. 4). If the shell deflects easily, the lobster is considered soft-shelled.
Figure 4: Example of a lobster being assessed for shell hardness.
On Board Quality Recommendations
Four out of five GFC members are now consigning better than 99% of their catches as premium grade lobsters. Maximising beach price from this point is about maintaining the highest quality through the whole supply chain – a task that starts with you, the fisherman. There are two main areas to focus on when considering onboard practices: Handling and equipment set up:
Best practice onboard handling procedures include:
These are all very simple measures that can be addressed by clear communication with deckies.
Best practice onboard set up includes:
Totally Protected Fish
Totally Protected Fish (TPF) include breeding females (setose, tarspot and berried) and undersized lobsters. No person or company is allowed to be in possession of TPF. The weight of any TPF found at grading will be deducted from the catch (i.e. have zero value) and the animals released back to the ocean. Remember that the rules around what is a TPF change throughout the year, so be sure to check the Department of Fisheries regulations.
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