John Dory (2020)

Zeus faber

  • Timothy Emery (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Geoffrey Liggins (New South Wales Department of Primary Industries)
  • Victorian Fisheries Authority (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Anthony Roelofs (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Jeff Norriss (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Thor Saunders (Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Northern Territory)

Date Published: June 2021

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

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John Dory inhabits coastal and continental shelf waters around most of Australia. Stocks in south-eastern Australia are sustainable, while the NT and WA stocks are classified as negligible, with low catch volumes.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Northern Territory Northern Territory Negligible
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Stock Structure

John Dory inhabits coastal and continental-shelf waters around most of Australia. The majority of the catch is taken along the eastern and southern coasts, with a small catch reported from the Northern Territory Timor Reef Fishery. The main distribution stretches from Moreton Bay in southern Queensland south and west to Cape Cuvier in Western Australia, with a limited distribution in eastern Bass Strait. John Dory are solitary as adults [Stergiou and Fourtouni 1991] and are reported to inhabit depths from 5 m to 360 m. Most of the catch is taken in 50–200 m depth, with over half of the catch is taken at 100–149 m depth [May 1986, Williams 1990 (both cited in Kailola et al. 1993), Staples 1995]. The stock structure of this species off Australia is poorly understood [Staples 1995]. Along the eastern and south eastern coasts, John Dory is considered to constitute a single biological stock for assessment and management purposes.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the biological stock level—South Eastern Australia, and at the jurisdictional level—Western Australia, Northern Territory.

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Stock Status

Northern Territory

Stock status for the Northern Territory is reported as Negligible due to catches only being reported in 2014–18 in the Timor Reef Fishery. The maximum annual catch during this time was < 0.4 t and the stock has not been subject to targeted fishing by any sector. Fishing is unlikely to be having a negative impact on the stock. 

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John Dory biology [Staples 1995]
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
John Dory 12–15 years, 500–650 mm TL    3–5 years
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of John Dory
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Fishing methods
Northern Territory
Management methods
Method Northern Territory
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Possession limit
Spatial closures
Catch limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Gear restrictions
Possession limit
Spatial closures
Northern Territory
Charter 0
Commercial 0
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 0

Commonwealth – Commercial (Management Methods/Catch) Data provided for the Commonwealth align with the Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery for the 2018-19 financial year.

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

Queensland –  Please refer to https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/traditional-fishing for information on traditional fishing in Queensland

New South Wales  Indigenous and Recreational catch estimates of “Negligible” are based on zero catches of John Dory recorded during the 2017-18 survey of the catch by 1-3 year NSW recreational licence holders [Murphy et al. 2020]

New South Wales - Indigenous  Customary Fishing Management Arrangements. See https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/aboriginal-fishing

Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of John Dory - note confidential catch not shown
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  1. AFMA 2019, Harvest strategy framework for the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery 2009 (amended 2019), Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  2. Burch, P, Althaus, F & Thomson, R 2019, Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) catches and discards for TAC purposes using data until 2018, Prepared for the SERAG Meeting, 3-4 December 2019, Hobart, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania.
  3. Castillo-Jordán, C 2017, Yield, total mortality values and Tier 3 estimates for selected shelf and slope species in the SESSF 2017. CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere for AFMA, Canberra.
  4. Emery, T, Marton, N, Woodhams, J and Curtotti, R 2020, Commonwealth Trawl and Scalefish Hook sectors, in H Patterson, J Larcombe, J Woodhams and R Curtotti (ed.s), Fishery status reports 2020, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra https://doi.org/10.25814/5f447487e6749.
  5. Kailola PJ, Williams MJ, Stewart PC, Reichelt R.E, McNee A and Grieve C 1993, Australian Fisheries Resources. Australian Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Canberra.
  6. Murphy, JJ, Ochwada-Doyle, FA, West, LD, Stark, KE and Hughes, JM, 2020, The NSW Recreational Fisheries Monitoring Program - Survey of recreational fishing, 2017/18. NSW DPI - Fisheries Final Report Series No. 158.
  7. QFish, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, www.qfish.gov.au
  8. Sporcic, M & Haddon, M 2018, Draft statistical CPUE standardisations for selected SESSF species (data to 2017), CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart.
  9. Staples D 1995, John Dory 1994, Stock Assessment Report, South East Fishery Assessment Group. Australia Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  10. Stergiou KI, Fourtouni H, 1991 Food habits, ontogenetic diet shifts and selectivity in Zeus faber Linnaeus, 1758. Journal Fish Biology, 39, 589–603.
  11. Webley, J, McInnes, K, Teixeira, D, Lawson, A and Quinn, R 2015, Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey 2013-14, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Downloadable reports

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