Orange-tag herring get anglers in the black

SEVERAL herring that were tagged and released near Dunsborough in WA have been caught as far away as Mandurah, in the process earning their captors up to $100.

Cash prizes are being offered from $5 to $100 as part of a WA Department of Fisheries project, for the capture and return of any herring with an orange tag in its flank just under the dorsal fin.

A team of volunteers and Fisheries researchers recently caught and released 1,550 tagged herring at various sites around Geographe Bay.

The tagging study is building on a previous study into nearshore species and aims to gather data about the movement of Australian herring in the West Coast Region (which runs from just north of Kalbarri through to Black Point, east of Augusta), their abundance and mortality rate.

Fifteen herring have been recaptured so far with one fish showing up in Mandurah; more than 120 kilometres from where it was tagged and released 12 days previously. Some of the tagged fish have been recaptured at Whitehills Beach, 20 kilometres south of Mandurah, with one being caught at the Dawesville Cut in Mandurah.

Bunbury recreational fisher, Bruce Carvasso (see attached photo), had the honour of being the first to catch a tagged fish. Bruce had berleyed up a school of herring at Back Beach when he reeled in the tagged fish.

“At first I thought it had a piece of orange seaweed in its side, until, on closer inspection, I could make out the Department of Fisheries? phone number,” said retiree Bruce, who is a regular recreational herring fisher.

“It was very pleasing to be the first to catch a tagged herring and it’s good to be able to do my bit to help the research to ensure there will be herring for the future.

“Of course, it would have been even nicer to catch a $100 fish, but I’ll keep on trying!”

Department of Fisheries Senior Research Scientist Dr Kim Smith said she was pleased recaptured tagged fish were being reported by recreational fishers, but advised it was too early to draw any scientific conclusions.

If you catch a tagged herring, phone the number on the tag – 0459 846772 – giving details of where and when the fish was caught and the unique number on its tag. To claim your cash prize, take the fish, or the fish frame (filleted skeleton with the guts and head still intact) and the tag still attached to a Department of Fisheries office in Bunbury, Busselton, Mandurah, Perth or Geraldton (visit for office locations).

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