NSW Research Angler Program expansion

IN late 2013 the NSW Research Angler Program was initiated to attain greater knowledge of mulloway across the state and improve the management of anglers’ interaction with these stocks.

Upon recent announcement, the program will be extended for another three years and include four new significant recreational species: snapper, yellowtail kingfish, dusky flathead and tailor.

Along with mulloway, fisheries invites the donation of the frame, head or single otolith from any of the above species to the many existing tackle shops participating as drop-off locations around the state. For angler’s on the NSW Central Coast BCF West Gosford (356-374 Manns Rd, West Gosford, T: 4322 4303) is now pleased to take your frames, as is Ned Kelly’s Bait & Tackle (42 Gordon St, Port Macquarie, T: 6583 8318) of Port Macquarie who also now assist the program.

There is also a calling for dedicated tailor anglers to join the Research Angler Program. Fisheries are now seeking regular samples of ocean-caught tailor from the length of the NSW coast, aspiring to examine changes in reproductive stages of the fish from various regions throughout the year.

Progress with mulloway

From the program’s outset, “Keen Angler Diarists” have been maintaining a journal of their mulloway fishing exploits, recording fish kept and released as well as unsuccessful trips. In conjunction, a frame donation and tagging program have allowed greater understanding of mulloway age, growth, movement and post-release survival, among other insights.
The significant contribution of the NSW RAP to mulloway data is evident upon comparison to the limited data attained before the program:


Source: NSW Research Angler Program Newsletter, September 2015.

Further, the analysis of the age rings in otolith bones, the pearlescent ‘jewels’ in the head of the mulloway, has afforded significant insight into how fast and variable the growth of mulloway can be. 9 year old mulloway have been found to be anywhere between 70 to 150cm in length! The below graph illustrates this size-at-age data, with purple points representing data attained from fish donated to the program since September 2013:


Source: NSW Research Angler Program Newsletter, September 2015.


As of the end of winter, an incredible 957 mulloway have been tagged in NSW waters through an initiative run by NSW Department of Primary Industries in conjunction with the Australian National Sportfishing Association. With such a great number of tagged mulloway at liberty across the state, a number of recaptures have occurred. If you catch a mulloway check its back for external pelagic-style streamer tags which are inserted beneath the dorsal spines. Note these tags are printed with a unique number, the address of NSW Fisheries and are bright yellow although they may become obscured by marine growth over time. Any mulloway recapture should be reported as soon as possible by contacting the NSW DPI Gamefish Tagging Program (T: 4424 7411, E: or the NSW Research Angler Program (T:9435 4671, E: A record of the tag number, measured length, estimated weight, date, time, location and condition of the fish on release is recommended to be made with any tagged mulloway recapture.
The following table illustrates some of the interesting recaptures made over winter:


Source: NSW Research Angler Program Newsletter, September 2015.

With the inclusion of more key recreational species, the NSW Research Angler Program is accessible to more anglers than ever. To get involved, your donation of mulloway, snapper, yellowtail kingfish, dusky flathead and/or tailor frames are to be accompanied with details of the capture, including: angler’s contact as well as when and where the fish was caught. A list of drop-off locations may be found here:

Further information and contact:

Mail: NSW Research Angler Program, Fisheries NSW, Sydney Institute of Marine Science,
19 Chowder Bay Rd, Mosman NSW 2088
Phone: +61 (02) 9435 4671 Fax: +61 (02) 9969 8664


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