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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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
Victoria Victoria Banded Morwong Fishery OF, VBMF, VRLF Recovering Catch, CPUE
Ocean Fishery (VIC)
Victorian Banded Morwong Fishery (VIC)
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

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

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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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Banded Morwong

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Fishing methods
Management methods
Method Victoria
Effort limits
Limited entry
Seasonal closures
Size limit
Spatial closures
Total allowable catch
Customary fishing permits
Bag limits
Possession limit
Size limit
Spatial closures
Indigenous Unknown (No catch under permit)
Recreational Unknown

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

Downloadable reports

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