Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to Hobart and speak about our mulloway citizen science project at the Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference. It was a great chance to share some research results and highlight the important role of citizen science in fisheries research. I was very lucky to have a few familiar faces in the audience, including local angler Shane Lowry. I think it would be fantastic to see a greater opportunity for anglers like Shane, to attend and contribute to conferences like this in the future.
The mulloway citizen science project is funded by a grant from the Victorian Government (through revenue from Recreational Fishing Licences) to improve recreational fishing in Victoria. Since the project began in late 2014, over 65 anglers have been involved in the research and have collectively donated over 320 frames across Victoria. The involvement of anglers is helping us learn more about the species biology, with specific focus on their age structures, growth rates and reproductive characteristics. We have also been collecting genetic samples to look at stock structures of mulloway across Victoria, NSW and SA which will guide future management decisions.
Over the next two years of the project, we urge anglers to continue to be a part of the program by donating the frames of mulloway they catch. Anglers are asked to simply bag up frames in individual bags, and label with details on the date and area of capture, length and whole weight of the fish and their contact details. Frames can then be dropped off at Spot On Fishing Tackle in Mt Gambier, Nelson Kiosk, Swampys Bait and Tackle in Kingston, Blupod at the Jetty in Beachport, Compleat Angler in Portland and Richardson Marine and Tackle Shack in Warrnambool. Alternatively, you can contact me directly (see details below) to arrange collection of frames.
This year has seen some unprecedented rainfall across our region, with estuaries remaining well and truly open. Over the coming six months, conditions should be favorable for mulloway fishing and expert anglers are already predicting an exciting season ahead for the mighty Jewy! It will be interesting to see what influence this year’s significant rainfall has on the recruitment and growth rates of mulloway.