Skeleton collection benefits fish research

FOR Kim Clayton of WA’s Department of Fisheries, the joy of Christmas came via the receiving of scores of fish skeletons. Kim runs a fish skeleton collection service in the South-west on behalf of the Department, which encourages recreational fishers to donate their filleted skeletons with the heads and guts intact for vital fisheries research.

Since 16 December, when fishing for demersal scalefish in the West Coast Bioregion re-opened, following its annual seasonal closure, Kim has been kept very busy.

“It’s been pretty hectic,” she said.

“One day alone in the lead up to Christmas I collected 30 dhufish frames and a mix of 30 frames of other demersal species (that live on or near the ocean floor). It’s certainly kept me busy and my freezers are nearly overflowing with fish frames. But that’s a good thing as the more fish frames we can collect, the greater the quantity and quality of data our scientists will have.

“Good research underpins good fisheries management – which allows the Department of Fisheries to manage fisheries sustainably, ensuring the quality of recreational fishing is maintained and that there will be fish for the future.”

As a thank you for taking part, all fishers who send in skeletons before 1 July 2013 are entered into a prize draw. Along with other prize donors, charter fishing operators Montebello Island Safaris ( have provided their generous support by donating a dream fishing trip.

Recreational fishers can arrange for Kim to pick-up their frames by contacting her on 0419 192 101. Fishers can also drop off their frames at Department of Fisheries and other business offices – more details can be found at

Kim Clayton says the fish frames she requires include West Australian dhufish, snapper, baldchin groper, redthroat emperor, Bight redfish, herring, tailor and all whiting species.

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