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Banded Morwong (2018)

Cheilodactylus spectabilis

  • Klaas Hartmann (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Corey Green (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Jeremy Lyle (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
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Summary

Banded Morwong is a large temperate reef species sold in the domestic live fish trade. It is found in VIC where its stock status is classified as recovering and in TAS where it is depleting.  

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Tasmania Tasmania Banded Morwong Fishery TBMF Depleting Stock assessment, CPUE
Victoria Victoria Banded Morwong Fishery OF, VBMF, VRLF Recovering Catch, CPUE
OF
Ocean Fishery (VIC)
TBMF
Tasmanian Banded Morwong Fishery (TAS)
VBMF
Victorian Banded Morwong Fishery (VIC)
VRLF
Victorian Rock Lobster Fishery (VIC)
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Stock Structure

Banded Morwong is large temperate reef fish species that is targeted by gillnets for the domestic live fish trade. The species is distributed around south eastern Australia, including southern New South Wales, and eastern Victoria and Tasmania, as well as occurring off north eastern New Zealand. It is relatively common in depths of less than 50 m. There is currently no information available regarding the biological stock structure. However, once settled after a relatively long oceanic larval phase, they show a high degree of site fidelity [Buxton et al. 2010, Murphy and Lyle 1999, Ziegler et al. 2006], suggesting that the exploited Victorian and Tasmanian populations are likely to represent distinct populations.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Victoria Banded Morwong Fishery and Tasmania Banded Morwong Fishery.

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Stock Status

Tasmania Banded Morwong Fishery

From the commencement of the fishery in the 1990s the biomass has steadily declined through to 2017. A CASAL stock assessment model is applied to this fishery incorporating fisheries dependent logbook data and biannual fisheries independent age-frequency data [Moore et. al. 2018]. This model estimates biomass at 38 per cent as compared to a 30 per cent limit reference point [Moore et. al. 2018]. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is not likely to be depleted and that recruitment is currently unlikely to be impaired.

The CPUE reached a record low in 2012–13 and has slowly increased since with the exception of 2016–17. As a measure of abundance, CPUE is only reflective of a small range of age classes as older fish tend to move offshore, where they are not susceptible to the fishery. For the total spawning stock biomass, the stock assessment model indicates that fishing pressure at current levels will continue to deplete the stock with an 18 per cent chance of falling below the 30 per cent limit reference point within five years [Moore et. al. 2018]. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is likely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Tasmania Banded Morwong Fishery management unit is classified as a depleting stock.

Victoria Banded Morwong Fishery

The most recent assessment (undertaken in 2018) has not been published because of the limited number of operators and concerns about confidentiality. This assessment examined nominal catch per unit effort (CPUE) data from 2000–17 and indicated that there was a clear downward trend in relative biomass from 2000–10. During this period CPUE fell 63 per cent from the peak in 2001. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is likely to be depleted and that recruitment is likely to be impaired. However, for the period 2011–17, catch rates increased greatly and are now similar to catch rates observed in the early 2000s.

However, data from only two operators contributes to high levels of uncertainty. The total catch is currently around 3.5 tonnes (t) based on the permitted take per operator (1 033 fish per year) and an agreed average live weight; some fish are also landed as byproduct from the Victorian Ocean Fishery. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the stock is likely to be depleted and that recruitment is likely to be impaired. However, for the period 2011–17 these indicators suggest a recovering stock. Furthermore, the above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality should allow the stock to recover from its recruitment impaired state.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Victoria Banded Morwong Fishery management unit is classified as a recovering stock.

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Biology

Banded Morwong biology [Ewing et al. 2007, Ziegler et al. 2007]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Banded Morwong 96 years, 578 mm FL 2.5 years, 320 mm FL 
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Banded Morwong

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Tables

Fishing methods
Victoria Tasmania
Commercial
Net
Unspecified
Gillnet
Recreational
Spearfishing
Gillnet
Management methods
Method Victoria Tasmania
Commercial
Effort limits
Limited entry
Seasonal closures
Size limit
Spatial closures
Total allowable catch
Indigenous
Customary fishing permits
Recreational
Bag limits
Licence
Possession limit
Seasonal closures
Size limit
Spatial closures
Active vessels
Victoria Tasmania
3 in OF, 2 in VRLF 21 in TBMF
OF
Ocean Fishery (VIC)
TBMF
Tasmanian Banded Morwong Fishery (TAS)
VRLF
Victorian Rock Lobster Fishery (VIC)
Catch
Victoria Tasmania
Commercial 32.71t in TBMF
Indigenous Unknown (No catch under permit) No Catch
Recreational Unknown 0.5 t (2012–13)
TBMF
Tasmanian Banded Morwong Fishery (TAS)

Commercial catch of Banded Morwong - note confidential catch not shown

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Banded Morwong - note confidential catch not shown

Archived reports

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