ANGLERS after game fish in and around Port Phillip are helping research and contributing to fish numbers with a catch and release policy.
Fisheries Victoria’s acting executive director Dallas D’Silva said the population of yellowtail kingfish had “rebounded strongly” since 2010 and some were being electronically tagged as part of a two-year study.
“The research aims to determine whether kingfish caught in Victorian waters are from one stock or several, and to better define population characteristics like age, growth and spawning habits,” Mr D’Silva said.
“Yellowtail kingfish populations have rebounded strongly since 2010 and they are now regularly caught at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay and inshore waters right along the coast.
“Our understanding of yellowtail kingfish stock structure is limited for this re-emerging fishery, which is why we are undertaking a two year study funded by recreational fishing licence fees.
“For comparison, genetic material has been collected from yellowtail kingfish specimens in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.”
Mr D’Silva said the electronic tag would enable scientists to better understand the movement patterns of yellowtail kingfish “and how their travels correlate to water depth and temperature”.
He said anglers had given 300 yellowtail kingfish frames to Queenscliff-based project leader Dr Corey Green.
Mr D’Silva said yellowtail kingfish have a minimum size of 60cm and a daily bag limit of five per angler.
“A bag limit of one exists for mako sharks and threshers although some anglers choose to release them to help sustain wild populations.
“Many of these anglers fish responsibly by using circle hooks that reduce deep hooking and improve shark survival after release.
“Heavy line to reduce fight time and a prompt release is another common strategy that contributes to healthy game fisheries offshore.”
For more information about fishing rules visit www.vic.gov.au/fishingguide or download the free Vic Fishing app for smartphones.