New study into black jewfish population in Mackay
A NEW study to shed light on the black jewfish population has been launched, which could inform new catch limits for the lucrative species.
Queensland Government scientists will explore the species across the state, with a strong focus around black jewfish hot spots such as Mackay and Rockhampton.
Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the three-year project would provide crucial information to help protect the sustainability of the fish.
“We need to know more about black jewfish on the east coast of Queensland to inform future assessments and management decisions that will lead to a long-term sustainable resource,” Mr Furner said.
“The outcomes of this research project should give fishery managers an improved understanding of the biology of black jewfish stocks to be able to set catch limits for the species.”
The black market fish can fetch between $500 and $900 per kilogram.
Since 2017, there has been a rapid increase in targeted commercial fishing of black jewfish following a rise in market demand for their swim bladders, which are sold fresh or dried in South-East Asia.
In May 2019, the State Government introduced a total allowable catch limit of 20 tonnes for black jewfish in response to escalating catches and concerns about sustainability.
The decision caused an uproar in the Mackay commercial fishing industry, as the limit was reached within 35 days.
This left commercial fishers with no other option but to dump the dead black jewfish if they were incidentally caught in their line.
Mr Furner said scientists would work closely with commercial, recreational and charter fishers to collect samples and learn from their existing knowledge of black jewfish.
The research project will begin on July 1.
Stakeholders who would like to participate can contact the project team by emailing email@example.com.