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Yellowtail Kingfish (2018)

Seriola lalandi

  • Julian Hughes (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Brett Molony (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Amanda Dawson (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Michael Steer (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Lee Georgeson (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)

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Summary

Yellowtail Kingfish is a highly mobile pelagic species found along much of the Australia’s western, southern and eastern coastlines. The west coast stock is sustainable. The east coast stock is undefined.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
New South Wales Eastern Australia OTLF Undefined Catch, CPUE, size composition, fishing mortality, yield per recruit analysis, spawning potential ratio
OTLF
Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)
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Stock Structure

Yellowtail Kingfish are a highly mobile pelagic species with a widespread distribution extending throughout temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans [Nugroho et al. 2001]. In Australian waters, the species occurs along the entire southern seaboard of the continent from North Island in southern Queensland (10°S) to Trigg Island in Western Australia (32°S) including the east coast of Tasmania, and around Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands [Love and Langenkamp 2003] where they inhabit rocky reefs and adjacent areas in coastal waters to depths of more than 300 m [Stewart and Hughes 2008].

Genetic analyses have shown the population in Western Australia to be genetically distinct from the Yellowtail Kingfish found on the eastern (New South Wales) and southern/central (Victoria, South Australia) Australian coasts or New Zealand waters [Miller et al. 2011]. These findings confirm results from previous analyses that found no evidence of genetic differentiation between New Zealand and New South Wales Yellowtail Kingfish [Smith et al. 1991] and results of tagging studies which show that Yellowtail Kingfish undergo movements between Australia and New Zealand [Gillanders et al. 2001].

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the genetically-determined biological stock level—Eastern Australia and Western Australia.

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Stock Status

Eastern Australia

Yellowtail Kingfish are caught in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australian waters, as well as in the Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF). The stock status presented here for the entire biological stock considers evidence from the four jurisdictions.

Catch in Commonwealth Trawl and Gillnet, Hook and Trap sectors of the SESSF was 9 t in 2017. Vessels operating on the high seas also catch the species, with 35 t reported in logbooks in the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation Convention Area in 2017. There have been no stock assessments undertaken for Yellowtail Kingfish in Commonwealth fisheries. There is therefore insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of the part of the stock that occurs in Commonwealth waters.

Reported catch from the Queensland fishery is relatively minor, ranging from 3–14 t per year over the period from 2004–17. Recreational and charter catch was estimated to be less than 10 t. There are no current estimates for indigenous harvest. There is therefore insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of part of the stock that occurs in Queensland waters.

In South Australia, Yellowtail Kingfish is considered a species of low–medium value and makes a minor contribution to the total production value of South Australia's commercial multispecies, multi-gear and multi-sectoral Marine Scalefish Fishery. Historically, the commercial catch of Yellowtail Kingfish has rarely exceeded 2 t per annum, with the majority being incidentally retained as by-product from the hauling net sector. Only a few commercial fishers have reported targeting the species using handlines and have typically landed negligible and inconsistent quantities. The State-wide recreational catch of Yellowtail Kingfish, however, is substantial, with the past three phone-diary surveys estimating increasing annual catches from 61.6 t in 2000–01 [Henry and Lyle 2003], to 100.58 t in 2007–08 [Jones 2009] and 198.98 t in 2013–14 [Giri and Hall 2015]. Despite the size of this recreational harvest, there have been no stock assessments undertaken for Yellowtail Kingfish in South Australia. There is therefore insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of the part of the stock that occurs in South Australia’s waters.

Commercial landings of Yellowtail Kingfish in New South Wales have declined from an average of approximately 550 t per year in the period 1983–84 to 1989–90, to an average of approximately 150 t per year since the mid-1990s. In recent history, a continuous decline in landings has been recorded from 266 t in 2009–10 to 66–t in 2016–17, the lowest recorded harvest for the species. Commercial catch rates (median kg per day line fishing) have decreased substantially from 22 kg per day in 2009 to 9 kg per day in 2017. Standardised catch per unit effort (in days) for handlining (the main commercial method landing Yellowtail Kingfish in New South Wales) showed a similar trend over the same reporting period [NSW DPI unpublished]. The recreational catch for Yellowtail Kingfish was estimated to be 144 t in 2000–01 [Henry and Lyle 2003] and has declined to 120 t in 2013‒14, which was associated with a reduction in overall numbers of anglers participating, but no significant change in catch rates [West et al. 2015].

Fishing mortality has been consistently estimated to be several times greater than natural mortality since 1998 [NSW DPI unpublished]. High rates (around 12–15 per cent) of recaptures of tagged fish suggest ongoing high levels of exploitation [NSW DPI unpublished]. Yellowtail Kingfish in New South Wales are harvested at an average size that is considerably smaller than the size that would produce the maximum yield per recruit (“growth overfished”) [NSW DPI unpublished]. For more than 10 years, the spawning potential ratio (SPR) for Yellowtail Kingfish has been consistently estimated to be below the limit reference point of 20 per cent indicating that there may be a high risk of recruitment failure [Goodyear 1993, Mace and Sissenwine 1993] and is currently estimated to be between 2 and 14 per cent [NSW DPI unpublished]. This SPR estimate (< 20 per cent virgin level) also infers low spawning stock biomass. The size composition of fish in commercial landings since the early-2000s is indicative of a heavily fished stock (around 90 per cent of catch is less than 850 mm, the approximate size at maturity for female Yellowtail Kingfish in New South Wales [Gillanders et al. 1999]). The New South Wales Yellowtail Kingfish fishery continues to be based largely on juveniles and the size composition in commercial landings has remained in a relatively stable, but truncated state since the 1990s, except for the effect of increasing the minimum legal length in 2007 [NSW DPI unpublished]. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the part of the stock that occurs in New South Wales waters is likely to be depleted and that recruitment is likely to be impaired. The above evidence indicates that current fishing mortality levels are expected to prevent the New South Wales part of the stock recovering from a recruitment impaired state.

The above assessment is based on the New South Wales commercial Yellowtail Kingfish catch, which is taken from a relatively small part of the distribution of the Eastern Australia biological stock and represents only 15 per cent of the total landings from the stock. In addition, movement patterns and stock demographics of Yellowtail Kingfish in south-eastern Australia are poorly understood, resulting in large uncertainty as to whether the New South Wales assessment can be used as a representative assessment of the entire biological stock. Further monitoring is therefore required to address this uncertainty. As a result, there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the overall status of entire Eastern Australia biological stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, this biological stock is classified as an undefined stock

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Biology

Yellowtail Kingfish biology [Stewart et al. 2001, Stewart and Hughes 2008]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Yellowtail Kingfish 20+ years, 1900 mm FL  5–10 years, 800–1250 mm FL 
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Yellowtail Kingfish
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Tables

Fishing methods
New South Wales
Commercial
Hook and Line
Dropline
Trolling
Unspecified
Management methods
Method New South Wales
Charter
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Licence
Possession limit
Size limit
Spatial closures
Commercial
Limited entry
Size limit
Spatial closures
Vessel restrictions
Indigenous
Bag limits
Native Title
Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Licence
Possession limit
Size limit
Spatial closures
Active vessels
New South Wales
117 in OTLF
OTLF
Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)
Catch
New South Wales
Commercial 61.98t in OTLF
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 120 t in 2013–14 [West et al. 2015]
OTLF
Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)

Commonwealth – Recreational The Commonwealth Government does not manage recreational fishing. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under their management regulations.

Commonwealth – Indigenous The Commonwealth Government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing (with the exception of the Torres Strait). In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters. In the Torres Strait both commercial and non-commercial Indigenous fishing is managed by the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (Commonwealth), Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Queensland) and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. The PZJA also manages non-Indigenous commercial fishing in the Torres Strait.

Western Australia – Recreational (a) In Western Australia, a recreational fishing from boat licence is required to take finfish from a powered vessel; and (b) (catch) Western Australia boat-based recreational catch from 1 September 2015–30 November 2016 [Ryan et al. 2017]. Shore based catches are largely unknown.

Queensland – Indigenous (management methods) In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers are able to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and bag limits and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Further exemptions to fishery regulations can be obtained through permits.

New South Wales – Indigenous (management method) (a) Aboriginal fishing interim compliance policy (increased bag limits) - allows an Aboriginal fisher in New South Wales to take in excess of a recreational bag limit in certain circumstances, for example, if they are doing so to provide fish to other community members who cannot harvest themselves; (b) Aboriginal cultural fishing authority - the authority that Indigenous persons can apply for to take catches outside the recreational limits under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Section 37 (1)(c1), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority; and (c) In cases where the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) applies fishing activity can be undertaken by the person holding native title in line with S.211 of that Act, which provides for fishing activities for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs. In managing the resource where native title has been formally recognised, the native title holders are engaged with to ensure their native title rights are respected and inform management of the State's fisheries resources.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Yellowtail Kingfish - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Department of Fisheries Western Australia 2011, Resource Assessment Framework (RAF) for finfish resources in Western Australia. Fisheries Occasional Publication No. 85. Department of Fisheries Western Australia, Perth.
  2. Froese, R, Demirel, N, Coro, G, Kleisner, KM, Winker, H 2017, Estimating fisheries reference points from catch and resilience. Fish and Fisheries, 18: 506–526.
  3. Gillanders, BM, Ferrell, DJ and Andrew, NL 1999, Size at maturity and seasonal changes in gonad activity of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi; Carangidae) in New South Wales, Australia, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 33 (3), 457–468
  4. Gillanders, BM, Ferrell, DJ and Andrew, NL 2001, Estimates of movement and life-history parameters of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi): how useful are data from a cooperative tagging programme? Marine and Freshwater Research, 52: 179–192.
  5. Giri, K and Hall, K 2015, South Australian Recreational Fishing Survey. Fisheries Victoria Internal Report Series No. 62.
  6. Goodyear, CP 1993, Spawning stock biomass per recruit in fisheries management: foundation and current use. pp. 67-81 In S.J. Smith, J.J. Hunt and D. Rivard [eds.]. Risk evaluation and biological reference points for fisheries management. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Special Publication 120.
  7. Henry, GW and Lyle JM, 2003, The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. Final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the Fisheries Action Program. Fisheries Final Report Series. Sydney, NSW Fisheries. 48: 188.
  8. Jones, K 2009, South Australian Recreational Fishing Survey. PIRSA Fisheries, Adelaide, 84 pp. South Australian Fisheries Management Series Paper No 54.
  9. Love G, and Langenkamp D, 2003, Australian aquaculture industry profiles for selected species. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
  10. Mace, PM and MP Sissenwine. 1993, How much spawning per recruit is enough? In S.J. Smith, J.J. Hunt and D. Rivard [eds.] Risk evaluation and biological reference points for fisheries management. Canadian Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Special Publications 120:101–118.
  11. Miller, PA, Fitch, AJ, Gardner, M, Huston, KS, Mair, G 2011, Genetic population structure of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) in temperate Australasian waters inferred from microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA, Aquaculture 319: 328–336.
  12. NSW DPI Unpublished. Status of Australian Fish Stocks 2018–NSW Stock status summary – Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi).
  13. Nugroho E, Ferrell DJ, Smith P and Taniguchi N 2001, Genetic divergence of kingfish from Japan, Australia and New Zealand inferred by microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA control region markers, Fisheries Science, 67: 843–850.
  14. Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Taylor, SM, Wise, BS 2017, Statewide survey of boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2015/16. Fisheries research Report No. 287. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia, Perth.
  15. Smith, A, Pepperell, J, Diplock, JH and Dixon, P 1991, Study suggests NSW Kingfish are one stock, Australian Fisheries, 50(3): 36–38.
  16. Stewart, J and Hughes, JM 2008, Determining appropriate sizes at harvest for species shared by the commercial trap and recreational fisheries in New South Wales, Fisheries Final Report Series.
  17. Stewart, J, Ferrell, DJ, Van der Walt, B, Johnson, D and Lowry, M 2001, Assessment of length and age composition of commercial kingfish landings, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 1997/126, New South Wales, Fisheries Final Report Series.
  18. West LD, Stark KE, Murphy JJ, Lyle JM, Ochwada – Doyle F, 2015, Survey of Recreational Fishing in New south Wales and the ACT, 2013/14, Fisheries Final Report Series.

Archived reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.