My Big Catch
Citizen scientists tracking King George whiting movements
Saltwater fishers are doing their bit to help track the movement patterns of King George whiting in Victorian waters, thanks to a three-year research project funded by recreational fishing licence fees.
Victorian Fisheries Authority chief executive officer Travis Dowling said the Melbourne University study involved volunteer fishers working as citizen scientists to tag, release and report the capture of King George whiting in Port Phillip and Western Port.
“We know whiting enter our bays when they’re only a few months old and leave again at about four years of age to mature and begin spawning offshore. What we don’t know is how juveniles move within and between our bays up until they depart.
“Fishers have tagged nearly 700 whiting, the biggest 48cm, with 60 per cent in Port Phillip at places like Queenscliff, Geelong, St Leonards and Clifton Springs, and 40 per cent in Western Port at Somers, Tortoise Head and Middle Spit.
“39 tagged whiting have been recaptured so far and none have moved between bays or offshore, yet.
“In Western Port, one tagged whiting moved 20km from Somers to Dickies Bay (San Remo) over 11 months, growing 5cm from 35 to 40cm.
“Another showed the greatest short-term movement recorded so far in the study, swimming from Somers to Middle Spit in a bit over 3 weeks. That’s about 24km!
“In Port Phillip, one tagged whiting was recaptured near Queenscliff by the same angler who’d tagged it, just 45 minutes after it had been released.
“The longest period between tagging and recapture was 16 months. The fish had grown 11cm from 33 to 44 cm! Like most recaptured fish, this whiting was caught close to where it was tagged.
“As fish get older and start to move out onto the coast, more recaptures from further afield are expected.”
He said the project would reveal more secrets this coming summer and much of the credit could be attributed to just four keen fishers who have tagged and released 83 per cent of the whiting in the study.
If you catch a King George whiting carrying a yellow tag, please report it to email@example.com or phone 5258 3686. Record the tag number, fish length, date and location of capture, and ideally release the fish so it can further contribute to the project’s learning opportunities.
I would also like to remind everyone also to keep those photos coming in of your big catch!
Please forward photos to the email address below, with type of fish, weight, length, location and your name. I am more than happy to place your photos in My Big Catch. Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you see or suspect illegal fishing activity any time over summer, phone the 24-hour reporting line 13 FISH (13 3474).
Reports continue of salmon off local rocks and beaches
A few whiting are also around if fishers are prepared to put in the time
Some pinkie snapper have been caught
Some mullet to be caught off the boat ramp
Reports supplied by the Rusty Anglers Anglesea
Reports of a few whiting being caught offshore
Flatties offshore are also being reported
River reports still consist of a few small trevally otherwise fairly quiet
Salmon are still being be caught off the beaches
Not much has changed, King George whiting and some pinkies
Salmon catches also continue off local beaches
Reports of some bream in Spring Creek
Report provided by Torquay Angling Club
St Leonards is still seeing reports of King George whiting as well as flathead and squid
Clifton Springs has some reports of whiting, flathead and some calamari
Queenscliff still reports some whiting, flathead, and a few pinkies
The creek reports consist of just a few trevally still
Squid are also being caught in the bight
Swan Bay has a few calamari and whiting still being reported near the entrance
Point Lonsdale is still providing reports of some trevally and salmon off the pier
The White Lady has whiting and calamari still being reported
Indented Head continues to produce some flathead, King George whiting and calamari