New Queensland study
Photo: Dave Donald

New Queensland study to shed light on black jewfish population

State government scientists will assess the population biology of black jewfish in a new Queensland study project to better understand stocks and manage the species.

Minister for Agricultural Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the three-year priority project would provide crucial information to help protect the sustainability of black jewfish.

“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.”

Mr Furner said scientists will work closely with commercial, recreational and charter fishers to collect samples and learn from their existing knowledge of black jewfish. “While the research will be Queensland-wide, there will be a strong focus around the black jewfish hot spots such as Mackay and Rockhampton,” Mr Furner said.

The research project’s objectives are to determine the stock structure and connectivity of black jewfish throughout Queensland waters using genetics; and assess the age structure, spawning biology and size-at-maturity for black jewfish populations on the east coast of Queensland.

Funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, scientists from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will conduct the research project that commences on July 1, 2020. Stakeholders who would like to participate in the new Queensland study can contact the project team by emailing samuel.williams@daf.qld.gov.au

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 Queensland Government introduced a total allowable catch limit of 20 tonnes for black jewfish in response to escalating catches and concerns about sustainability.

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