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Mulloway (2018)

Argyrosomus japonicus

  • Jason Earl (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • David Fairclough (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Jonathan Staunton-Smith (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Julian Hughes (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

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Summary

Mulloway is a widely distributed species in Australian waters. Stock status is sustainable in WA and SA, depleted in NSW and undefined in QLD.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Western Australia GDSMF, JASDGDLMF, SBPMF, SCEMF, WCDGDLIMF, WCDSIMF Sustainable Catch, CPUE
GDSMF
Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery (WA)
JASDGDLMF
Joint Authority Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Managed Fishery (Zone 1 & Zone 2) (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SCEMF
South Coast Estuarine Managed Fishery (WA)
WCDGDLIMF
West Coast Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
WCDSIMF
West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
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Stock Structure

Mulloway has a wide distribution in Australia, from the Gascoyne region on the west coast of Western Australia, around the southern coasts of the continent, and up to the Wide Bay–Burnett region on the east coast of Queensland [Kailola et al. 1993]. Within this broad distribution, Mulloway occur in nearshore coastal waters (less than 100 m depth) and are often abundant in estuaries and the lower reaches of rivers.

Biological stock structure for Mulloway in Australia is uncertain. It has been suggested that a single panmictic population occurs in Australia [Archangi 2008]. However, regional differences in genetics, and otolith morphology and chemistry suggest sub-structuring between populations in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia [Barnes et al. 2015, Ferguson et al. 2011].

Here, assessment of stock status for Mulloway is presented at the jurisdictional level—Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.

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Stock Status

Western Australia

Commercial catches of Mulloway in Western Australia have declined from around 56 tonnes (t) in 2002, but remained steady between 2008 and 2017 at 13–27 t. The recent reduced catch levels have been associated with reductions in fishing effort by the main demersal fisheries that catch Mulloway (the West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Managed Fishery (WCDSIMF) and Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery (GDSMF). This is a result of management changes during the 2000s to reduce effort and thus retained catches of all demersal species in those fisheries (and of the recreational sector) to sustainable levels [Gaughan and Santoro 2018], which have been achieved. Recreational and charter catches of Mulloway remain low, i.e. < 15 t yr-1 [Gaughan and Santoro 2018, Ryan et al. 2017].

At the bioregion and smaller scale management area level, catch per unit effort (CPUE) in the WCDSIMF and GDSMF have been highly variable, reflecting the low level of targeting of this species. At the Western Australia stock level, CPUE has remained stable and very low since 2008 (after the management changes) at approximately 2–4 kg per fishing day. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Furthermore, the above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Mulloway in Western Australia is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Mulloway biology [Farmer 2008, Ferguson et al. 2013, Silberschneider and Gray 2008]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Mulloway 42 years, 2000 mm TL  2–6 years, 510–1070 mm TL
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Mulloway
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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels
Hook and Line
Dropline
Gillnet
Haul Seine
Otter Trawl
Unspecified
Charter
Hook and Line
Recreational
Hook and Line
Indigenous
Traditional apparatus
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Charter
Bag limits
Licence
Limited entry
Marine park closures
Passenger restrictions
Possession limit
Size limit
Commercial
Catch limits
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Size limit
Spatial closures
Vessel restrictions
Indigenous
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Size limit
Temporal closures
Recreational
Bag limits
Licence (boat-based sector)
Marine park closures
Possession limit
Size limit
Active vessels
Western Australia
23 in Charter, 12 in GDSMF, 7 in JASDGDLMF, 7 in SBPMF, 6 in SCEMF, 4 in WCDGDLIMF, 18 in WCDSIMF, <3 in WL (NC || GC || WC)
Charter
Tour Operator (WA)
GDSMF
Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery (WA)
JASDGDLMF
Joint Authority Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Managed Fishery (Zone 1 & Zone 2) (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SCEMF
South Coast Estuarine Managed Fishery (WA)
WCDGDLIMF
West Coast Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
WCDSIMF
West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
WL (NC || GC || WC)
Open Access in the North Coast, Gascoyne Coast and West Coast Bioregions (WA)
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 15.62t in GDSMF, JASDGDLMF, SBPMF, SCEMF, WCDGDLIMF, WCDSIMF
Charter 1.88 t in Tour Operator
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 5 t (in 2015–16)
GDSMF
Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery (WA)
JASDGDLMF
Joint Authority Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Managed Fishery (Zone 1 & Zone 2) (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SCEMF
South Coast Estuarine Managed Fishery (WA)
WCDGDLIMF
West Coast Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
WCDSIMF
West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)

Western Australia – Recreational (Catch totals) Shore based catches are unknown, thus landings are likely to be underestimated.

Western Australia – Indigenous (Management methods) Subject to the defence that applies under Section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), and the exemption from a requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, the non-commercial take by Indigenous fishers is covered by the same arrangements as that for recreational fishing.

Queensland – Indigenous (Management methods) In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers are able to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and possession limits, and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Further exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits.

New South Wales – Commercial (Management methods) Fishers using mesh nets in the New South Wales commercial Estuary General Fishery are permitted a bycatch allowance of 10 Mulloway between 450 and 700 mm per day. Fishers using haul nets in the New South Wales commercial Ocean Hauling Fishery are permitted a bycatch allowance of 500 kg of Mulloway per day.

New South Wales – Indigenous (Management methods) (a) Aboriginal fishing interim compliance policy (increased bag limits) - allows an Aboriginal fisher in New South Wales to take in excess of a recreational bag limit in certain circumstances, for example, if they are doing so to provide fish to other community members who cannot harvest themselves; (b) The Aboriginal cultural fishing authority is the authority that Indigenous persons can apply to take catches outside the recreational limits under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority;  (c) In cases where the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) applies fishing activity can be undertaken by the person holding native title in line with S.211 of that Act, which provides for fishing activities for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs. In managing the resource where native title has been formally recognised, the native title holders are engaged with to ensure their native title rights are respected and inform management of the State's fisheries resources.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Mulloway - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Archangi, B 2008, Levels and patterns of genetic diversity in wild and cultured populations of mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus) using mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites, PhD thesis, School of Natural Resource Sciences, Queensland University of Technology.
  2. Barnes, TC, Junge, C, Myers, SA, Taylor, MD, Rogers, PJ, Ferguson, GJ, Lieschke, JA, Donnellan, SC and Gillanders, BM 2015, Population structure in a wide-ranging coastal teleost (Argyrosomus japonicus, Sciaenidae) reflects marine biogeography across southern Australia, Marine and Freshwater Research, 67: 1103–1113.
  3. Earl, J and Ward, TM 2014, Mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus) stock assessment report 2013–14, report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, publication F2007/000898-3, SARDI research report series 814, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  4. Farmer, BM 2008, Comparisons of the biological and genetic characteristics of the mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus (Sciaenidae) in different regions of Western Australia, PhD thesis, Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Murdoch University, Perth.
  5. Ferguson, GJ, Ward, TM and Gillanders, BM 2011, Otolith shape and elemental composition: complimentary tools for stock discrimination of mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus) in southern Australia, Fisheries Research, 110: 75–83.
  6. Ferguson, GJ, Ward, TM, Ivey, A and Barnes, T 2013, Life history of Argyrosomus japonicus, a large sciaenid at the southern part of its global distribution: implications for fisheries management, Fisheries Research, 151: 148–157.
  7. Gaughan, D and Santoro, K 2018, Status reports of the fisheries and aquatic resources of Western Australia 2016/17: The State of the Fisheries, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Perth.
  8. Giri, K and Hall, K 2015, South Australian recreational fishing survey 2013–14, Fisheries Victoria Internal Report Series No. 62, Victoria.
  9. Goodyear, CP 1993, Spawning stock biomass per recruit in fisheries management: foundation and current use, in SJ Smith, JJ Hunt and D Rivard (ed.s), Risk evaluation and biological reference points for fisheries management, Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 120, NRC Research Press, pp 67–81.
  10. Henry, GW and Lyle, JM 2003, The national recreational and Indigenous fishing survey, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the Fisheries Action Program Project FRDC, project 1999/158, New South Wales Fisheries final report series 48, NSW Fisheries, Cronulla.
  11. Kailola, P, Williams, MJ, Stewart, PC, Reichlet, RE, McNee, A and Grieve, C 1993, Australian fisheries resources, Bureau of Resource Sciences and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra. 
  12. Mace, PM and Sissenwine, MP 1993, How much spawning per recruit is enough?, in SJ Smith, JJ Hunt and D Rivard (ed.s), Risk evaluation and biological reference points for fisheries management, Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 120, NRC Research Press, pp 101–118.
  13. Mackay, AI 2017, Operational interactions with Threatened, Endangered or Protected Species in South Australian Managed Fisheries. Data summary: 2007/08–2015/16. Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  14. Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Taylor, SM, and Wise, BS 2017, Statewide survey of boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2015/16. Fisheries research Report No. 287. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia, Perth.
  15. Silberschneider, V and Gray CA 2005, Arresting the decline of the commercial and recreational fisheries for Mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus), Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2001/027, final report series 82, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla.
  16. Silberschneider, V and Gray, CA 2008, Synopsis of biological, fisheries and aquaculture-related information on mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), with particular reference to Australia, Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 24(1): 7–17.
  17. Silberschneider, V, Gray, CA and Stewart, J 2009, Age, growth, maturity and the overfishing of the iconic sciaenid, Argyrosomus japonicus, in south-eastern Australia, Fisheries Research, 95(2–3): 220–229.
  18. Webley, J, McInnes, K, Teixeira, D, Lawson, A and Quinn, R 2015, Statewide recreational fishing survey 2013–14, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  19. West, LD, Stark, KE, Murphy, JJ, Lyle, JM and Ochwada-Doyle, FA 2015, Survey of recreational fishing in New South Wales and the ACT, 2013–14, Fisheries final report series 149, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongong.

Downloadable reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.