Ocean Jacket (2018)

Nelusetta ayraudi

  • Amy Smoothey (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Bradley Moore (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Corey Green (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Anthony Fowler (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Fay Helidoniotis (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

Toggle content


Ocean Jackets are found along the southern half of Australia, with sustainable stocks in NSW, SA and Commonwealth waters. Stocks in VIC are undefined, with limited information available. Stocks are negligible in TAS.

Toggle content

Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Tasmania Tasmania SF Negligible
Scalefish Fishery (TAS)
Toggle content

Stock Structure

Ocean Jackets are distributed along the southern half of Australia from Cape Moreton in Queensland around to North West Cape in Western Australia, including northern Tasmania [Kailola et al 1993]. Throughout their distribution, Ocean Jackets are found in many habitats. As juveniles they are found in estuaries and sheltered bays amongst seagrass beds of Zostera sp. and Posidonia sp. [Grove-Jones and Burnell 1991, Jones and West 2005]. Sub-adults and adults have been observed to move into different environments such as rocky reefs, sandy–mud benthos, or onto sponge–coralline algae gardens and can be found in waters from 2–250 m [Grove-Jones and Burnell 1991, Hutchins 1999], where they are known to aggregate seasonally in large schools.

The Ocean Jacket stock comprises Ocean Jackets (Nelusetta ayraudi), which makes up most of the catch, and unspecified Leatherjackets. Little is known about the biological structure of this multispecies stock. Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Southeast Scalefish and Shark Fishery, Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector (Commonwealth); and at the jurisdictional level—New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Toggle content

Stock Status


Although not differentiated from other Leatherjacket species in either commercial or recreational landings, stock status for Ocean Jacket in Tasmania is reported as Negligible given the likely historically low catches in this jurisdiction and that the stock has generally not been subject to targeted fishing. The average annual commercial catch of all Leatherjacket species combined in 2010–16 averaged less than 2.4 t per annum. Given that adult Ocean Jacket primarily inhabit continental shelf and slope waters and the bulk of the Tasmanian Leatherjacket catch is harvested using fish traps from waters < 50 m depth [Moore et al. 2018], the species is considered to constitute only a very minor proportion of commercial and recreational landings of Leatherjacket in Tasmania. Fishing is unlikely to be having a negative impact on the stock.

Toggle content


Ocean Jacket biology [Kailola et al. 1993, Miller et al. 2010, Miller and Stewart 2012]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Ocean Jacket ≥ 9 years, 790 mm FL New South Wales 6 years, 656 mm TL New South Wales 2.5 years
Toggle content


Distribution of reported commercial catch of Ocean Jacket
Toggle content


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

Commonwealth – Indigenous - The Australian government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters, with the exception of Torres Strait. In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters.

New South Wales – (Management Methods) The Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access Arrangement allows an Indigenous 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. Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority - The Aboriginal cultural fishing authority is the authority that Indigenous persons can apply to take catches outside the recreational limits under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority. 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.

Victoria – Indigenous

In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing may not apply to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Victorian traditional owners may have rights under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 to hunt, fish, gather and conduct other cultural activities for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs without the need to obtain a licence. Traditional Owners that have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) may also be authorised to fish without the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence. Outside of these arrangements, Indigenous Victorians can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise fishing for specific Indigenous cultural ceremonies or events (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). There were no Indigenous permits granted in 2017 and hence no Indigenous catch recorded.

Toggle content


  1. ABARES 2018. Fishery Status Reports 2018, Canberra.
  2. CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, 31 July 2017, Prepared for the SESSFRAG Data Meeting, 7–8 August 2017, Hobart, for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.
  3. Grove-Jones RP, Burnell AF 1991, Fisheries biology of the Ocean Jacket (Monacanthidae: Nelusetta ayraudi) in the eastern waters of the Great Australian Bight. South Australian Department of Fisheries. FIRDC Project DFS01Z, Final report 107 pp.
  4. Haddon, M and Sporcic, M, 2017, Statistical CPUE Standardizations for selected SESSF species (data to 2016)
  5. Hutchins, BJ 1999. Leatherjackets. In Andrew, NL Under southern Seas. The ecology of Australia’s rocky reefs. University of New South Wales Press Ltd, Sydney. pp 195–202.
  6. Kailola PJ, Williams MJ, Stewart PC, Reichelt RE, McNee A and Grieve C, 1993, Australian Fisheries Resources. Australian Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Canberra.
  7. Knuckey IA and Brown LP 2002. Assessment of bycatch in the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery, final report to FRDC, report 2000/169, FRDC, Canberra.
  8. Miller, ME and Stewart, J 2009, The commercial fishery for ocean leatherjackets (Nelusetta ayraudi, Monacanthidae) in New South Wales, Australia, Asian Fisheries Science, 22: 257–264.
  9. Miller, ME and Stewart, J 2012, Reproductive characteristics of the ocean leatherjacket, Nelusetta ayraudi. Reviews of Fish Biology and Fisheries.
  10. Miller, ME, Stewart, J and West, RJ 2010. Using otoliths to estimate age and growth of a large Australian endemic monocanthid, Nelusetta ayraudi (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824). Environmental Bioliology of Fishes, 88: 263–271
  11. Moore B, Lyle J and Hartmann K 2018, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Assessment 2016/17. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.
  12. Steer, MA, Fowler, AJ, McGarvey, R, Feenstra, J, Westlake, EL, Matthews, D, Drew, M, Rogers, PJ and Earl, J 2018, Assessment of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery in 2016. Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture (PDF 7.9 MB). South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2017/000427-1. SARDI Research Report Series No. 974. 250 pp.
  13. West, LD, Stark, KE, Murphy, JJ, Lyle, JM and Ochwada-Doyle, FA 2015, Survey of Recreational Fishing in New South Wales and the ACT, 2013/14. NSW DPI – Fisheries Final Report Series No. 149.

Downloadable reports

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