Biological monitoring of commercial species
Fisheries Queensland collects representative biological information from priority commercial species.
Sampling focuses on collecting length, sex and age data. The age of a fish is estimated by counting the number of rings on the 'ear bone', called an otolith, in much the same way as a tree is aged. Collecting this information from commercial catches, as well as similar information from the recreational sector, helps Fisheries Queensland develop a clear picture of the whole fishery for each species.
Commercial fishers, seafood wholesalers and retailers voluntarily participate in Fisheries Queensland's species-specific monitoring programs by donating fish frames, or allowing us to measure fish, and sometimes to remove otoliths. Fisheries Queensland staff travel to collect the specimens or biological material as required, and therefore participation in this monitoring program is carried out with minimal disruption to commercial activities.
The biological information collected from commercial fisheries is combined with similar information from recreational fisheries, as well as other available information, including catch and effort of the commercial and recreational fisheries. This information contributes to regular assessments of the status of fish stocks, which help evaluate fisheries management arrangements.
The species currently monitored with the assistance of the commercial fishing sector are:
- bream, whiting and flathead
- threadfin (king threadfin and blue threadfin)
- coral reef fish (saddletail snapper, crimson snapper, red emperor, spangled emperor, stripey snapper)
- rocky reef fish (e.g. snapper and pearl perch)
- sea mullet
- Spanish mackerel
- spotted mackerel
Spanner crabs, scallops, Moreton Bay bugs and blue swimmer crabs are also collected with the help of commercial fishers through a dedicated scientific survey once a year.
- Find out about the vessel monitoring system (VMS) used by Fisheries Queensland.