Fiordland Lobster headers old

How We Started

The story of the Fiordland Lobster Company LTD is one of a committed group of people, who had the foresight to spearhead the live lobster export industry in New Zealand in the late 1980s, as a result of changes affecting the existing Fiordland rock lobster fishery. 

At the time Fiordland lobster was tailed, frozen and exported to the United States, a market which had fuelled the development of the rock lobster export market in the 1940s.

By 1987 however fishermen were apprehensive about the future financial viability of the Fiordland fishery. The Government had introduced a new measuring system for lobster,r and signalled the introduction of a Quota Management policy, in a bid to protect the lobster stock which was in danger of being fished out.

The new measure eliminated a significant number of previously legal fish and this together with the Quota Management system impacted on the available catch.


John Steffans & staff. circa 1990’sThe initial facilities, Te Anau 1989

Changes were in the wind for the industry however and in 1988 technology and markets were developed to allow live lobster exports from New Zealand. Fifteen Fiordland fishermen formed a partnership with the seafood processing company, Mt Maunganui Seafoods, which was pioneering the concept of live lobster exports from New Zealand to Japan.

This loose partnership led to the creation of the Fiordland Lobster Company the following year, and after almost quarter of a century, it continues to maintain its position as an outstanding exporter of high quality live Fiordland rock lobster.


Today the lobster fishery has rebuilt dramatically, thanks to the implementation of the new lobster measure and Quota Management system, and the Fiordland rock lobster is now so abundant that catches are being increased and management measures introduced to ensure sustainable catch levels are maintained.

The Fiordland Lobster Company is proud of its role in supporting and preserving the rock lobster fishery and looks forward to a lengthy future as New Zealand’s largest live lobster exporter.