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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
South Australia South Australia LCF, MSF Sustainable Catch, CPUE
LCF
Lakes and Coorong Fishey (SA)
MSF
Marine Scalefish Fishery (SA)
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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

South Australia

The multispecies and multi-gear Lakes and Coorong Fishery (LCF) has traditionally been the most important of South Australia’s fisheries for Mulloway, accounting for around 95 per cent of the state’s total commercial catch since 2007, with the remainder taken by the Marine Scalefish Fishery (MSF). The most recent assessment for Mulloway in the LCF was completed in 2014, and used data to the end of June 2014 [Earl and Ward 2014]. Interactions between Lakes and Coorong fishers and Long-nosed Fur Seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) have increased in recent years [Mackay 2017], with seal depredation on Mulloway caught in gillnets likely to have resulted in reduced catches and lower CPUE for this species.

The primary indicators for biomass and fishing mortality are total catch and targeted catch per unit effort from commercial gillnet fishers. Commercial landings of Mulloway in South Australia peaked at 169 t in 2001 and then progressively declined to 24 t in 2010. This decline was associated with a decline in targeted gillnet effort in the LCF during the Millennium Drought (2002–10) and likely reflected a decline in fishable biomass in the Coorong estuary [Earl and Ward 2014]. Since then, higher catches by the LCF have contributed most to peaks in state-wide landings of 117 t and 111 t in 2013 and 2017, respectively. The recent high catches have been associated with historically high CPUE for LCF gillnet fishers. The state-wide recreational catch of Mulloway was estimated at approximately 60 t in 2013–14 [Giri and Hall 2015]. 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 provide above, Mulloway in South 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
South Australia
Commercial
Hook and Line
Demersal Longline
Pole and Line
Gillnet
Seine Nets
Indigenous
Hook and Line
Gillnet
Traditional apparatus
Recreational
Hook and Line
Gillnet
Management methods
Method South Australia
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Indigenous
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Active vessels
South Australia
20 in LCF, 21 in MSF
LCF
Lakes and Coorong Fishey (SA)
MSF
Marine Scalefish Fishery (SA)
Catch
South Australia
Commercial 105.79t in LCF, 5.57t in MSF
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 60 t (in 2013–14)
LCF
Lakes and Coorong Fishey (SA)
MSF
Marine Scalefish Fishery (SA)

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.