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Yelloweye Mullet (2018)

Aldrichetta forsteri

  • Jason Earl (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Rodney Duffy (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Simon Conron (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Bradley Moore (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)

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

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Summary

Yelloweye Mullet is an estuary-based species found along southern Australia. Stocks in WA, SA and TAS are sustainable. The VIC stock is recovering.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Victoria Victoria CIF, GLF, PPBWPF Recovering Catch, CPUE
CIF
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
GLF
Gippsland Lakes Fishery (VIC)
PPBWPF
Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay Fishery (VIC)
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Stock Structure

Yelloweye Mullet is widely distributed along the southern coasts of Australia, from Murchison River in Western Australia to Hunter River in New South Wales, and around Tasmania [Gomon et al. 2008]. Yelloweye Mullet typically occur in schools in nearshore marine waters from the intertidal zone to depths of at least 10 m, and are often abundant in estuaries and the lower reaches of rivers [Kailola et al. 1993, Connolly 1994].

Biological stock structure for Yelloweye Mullet in Australia is uncertain. It has been suggested that there are two biological stocks—Western and Eastern—based on morphological differences [Thomson 1957, Pellizzari 2001]. However, further studies are required to confidently define biological stock delineation for this species.

Here, assessment of stock status for Yelloweye Mullet is presented at the jurisdictional level—Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

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Stock Status

Victoria

In Victoria, a total of 32.9 t of Yelloweye Mullet was caught in 2017 by commercial fishers operating in the Corner Inlet, Gippsland Lakes, and Port Phillip Bay Western Port fisheries. Annual catches of Yelloweye Mullet in Victoria over the last decade have ranged from 27.9 t to 68 t but have shown a long-term declining trend since their historic peak in the 1980s. Historically, Yelloweye Mullet was regularly targeted by commercial net fishers, but not in recent decades with other higher value species such as King George Whiting and Black Bream being targeted with Yelloweye Mullet catches being lower value and market dependant. Yelloweye Mullet are caught by recreational fishers, but recent catch quantities are unknown.

In the Corner Inlet commercial fishery, the majority of Yelloweye Mullet are caught using haul seine nets with the remainder taken using mesh nets [Conron et al. 2016a]. Yelloweye Mullet landed by the Gippsland Lakes commercial fishery are mainly caught using mesh nets with the remainder taken using haul seine nets [Conron et al. 2016b]. Haul seine catch per unit effort (CPUE ) in Corner Inlet and mesh-net CPUE in Gippsland Lakes show long-term declining trends. The three year averaged haul seine CPUE in Corner Inlet was below the long-term (1978–2015) average in most of the 2000s, and despite showing a recent increase, the annual index was below the limit level in 2015 (VFA 2017).

In the Port Phillip Bay commercial fishery, the majority of Yelloweye Mullet were caught using haul seine nets with the remainder taken using mesh nets [Hamer et al. 2016]. Despite stability in the catch rate at close to the long-term average from 2006–07 to 2013–14, it has continued to decline from 2012–13 to 2015–16 [Hamer et al. 2016, VFA 2017]. Commercial netting is being phased out in Port Phillip Bay and since 2016, 34 of the 43 licences have been bought out by the Victorian Government. Catch rate data from Port Phillip Bay was not assessed post 2016 due to the reduction in suitable data available for analysis as a result the phasing out of the commercial net fishery.

Overall, the above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is likely to have been depleted and that recruitment was impaired. Furthermore, the above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality should allow the stock to recover from its recruitment impaired state.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Yelloweye Mullet in Victoria is classified as a recovering stock.

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Biology

Yelloweye Mullet biology [Edgar 2008, Earl and Ferguson 2013, Gaughan et al. 2006]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Yelloweye Mullet 10 years, 440 mm TL  2–3 years, 200–260 mm TL 
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Yelloweye Mullet
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Tables

Fishing methods
Victoria
Commercial
Net
Recreational
Diving
Hook and Line
Net
Indigenous
Hook and Line
Management methods
Method Victoria
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Licence
Limited entry
Size limit
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Indigenous
Customary fishing permits
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Size limit
Spatial closures
Active vessels
Victoria
18 in CIF, 10 in GLF, 1 in PPBWPF
CIF
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
GLF
Gippsland Lakes Fishery (VIC)
PPBWPF
Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay Fishery (VIC)
Catch
Victoria
Commercial 17.10t in CIF, 14.87t in GLF
Indigenous Unknown (No catch under permit)
Recreational Unknown
CIF
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
GLF
Gippsland Lakes Fishery (VIC)

Victoria – Indigenous (Management methods) In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing may not apply to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Victorian traditional owners may have rights under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 to hunt, fish, gather and conduct other cultural activities for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs without the need to obtain a licence. Traditional Owners that have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) may also be authorised to fish without the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence. Outside of these arrangements, Indigenous Victorians can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise fishing for specific Indigenous cultural ceremonies or events (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). There were no Indigenous permits granted in 2017 and hence no Indigenous catch recorded.

Tasmania – Commercial (Catch totals) Catches reported for the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery are for the period 1 July to 30 June the following year. The most recent assessment available is for 2016–17.

Tasmania – Indigenous (Management methods) In Tasmania, Indigenous persons engaged in aboriginal fishing activities in marine waters are exempt from holding recreational fishing licences, but must comply with all other fisheries rules as if they were licensed. Additionally, recreational bag and possession limits also apply. If using pots, rings, set lines or gillnets, Indigenous persons must obtain a Unique Identifying Code (UIC). The policy document Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities for issuing a UIC to a person for Aboriginal Fishing activity explains the steps to take in making an application for a UIC.

Tasmania – Recreational (Fishing methods) In Tasmania, a recreational licence is required for fishers using dropline or longline gear, along with nets, such as gillnet or beach seine. The species is subject to a minimum size limit of 250 mm. Mullet (all species combined) are subject to a bag limit of 15 individuals and a possession limit of 30 individuals.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Yelloweye Mullet - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Connolly, RM 1994, A comparison of fish assemblages from seagrass and unvegetated areas of a South Australian estuary, Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 45: 1033–1044.
  2. Conron S, Green C, Hamer, P, Giri, K and Hall, K 2016, Corner Inlet-Nooramunga Fishery Assessment 2016, Fisheries Victoria Science Report Series No. 11, Fisheries Victoria, Melbourne.
  3. Conron, S, Giri, K, Hall, K and Hamer, P 2016, Gippsland Lakes Fisheries Assessment 2016, Fisheries Victoria Science Report Series No. 14, Fisheries Victoria, Melbourne.
  4. Earl, J and Ferguson, GJ 2013, Yelloweye Mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri) stock assessment report 2011–12, Report to Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (Fisheries and Aquaculture), SARDI Publication F2007/001048-1, SARDI Research Report Series 737, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  5. Edgar, GD 2008, Australian marine life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. New Holland Publishers, Sydney.
  6. Froese, R, Demirel, N, Coro, G, Kleisner, K and Winker, H 2016, Estimating fisheries reference points from catch and resilience. Fish and Fisheries, 18(3): 506–526.
  7. Gaughan, D, Ayvazian, S, Nowara, G and Craine, M 2006, The development of a rigorous sampling methodology for a long-term annual index of recruitment for finfish species from south-western Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Project 1999/153, Fisheries Research Report 154, Western Australia Department of Fisheries, Perth.
  8. Giri, K and Hall, K 2015, South Australian recreational fishing survey 2013–14, Fisheries Victoria Internal Report Series No. 62, Victoria.
  9. Gomon, MF, Bray, DJ and Kuiter, RH (ed.s) 2008, Fishes of Australia’s southern coast, New Holland Publishers, Sydney.
  10. Hamer, P and Giri K 2016, Port Phillip Bay Commercial Fishery Assessment 2016. Fisheries Victoria Science Report Series No. 9.
  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. Lyle, JM, Stark, KE and Tracey, SR 2014, 2012–13 survey of recreational fishing in Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  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. Moore, BR, Lyle, J, Hartmann, K 2018, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Assessment 2016/17, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
  15. Pellizzari, M 2001, A preliminary investigation of the biology of Yelloweye Mullet in South Australian waters, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  16. Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Taylor, SM, 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, Western Australia.
  17. Thomson, JM 1957, Interpretation of the scales of the yellow-eye mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Cuvier and Valenciennes) (Mugilidae), Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 8: 14–28.
  18. Victorian Fisheries Authority 2017. Review of key Victorian fish stocks—2017. Victorian Fisheries Authority Science Report Series No. 1.