More amazing movements of Mulloway revealed!

The Victorian Mulloway Tagging program, funded by the Victorian Fisheries Authority through Recreational Fishing License Fees, has now been running for three and half years. The program has received incredible support from a large number of anglers and has provided valuable new knowledge on the elusive Mulloway. We thought it was timely to provide anglers with a summary of the overall findings from the program to date, along with some recent tag and recapture news. You can read all about the program and its findings in the latest newsletter.

Since the program began, a total of 868 Mulloway have been tagged – a huge effort! The majority were caught from the Glenelg River (543), with others tagged in the Patterson River, Yarra River, Hopkins River, Barwon River, Moyne River, Westernport Bay, South East SA and coastal waters near Geelong and Portland. We have recorded 172 Mulloway recaptures, including 150 that were recaptured once, 21 Mulloway recaptured a second time, and a single Mulloway that was recaptured four times! Tagged Mulloway ranged in length from 38.5 to 140 cm, with most between 50 to 70 cm reflecting the high abundance of juveniles in our rivers.

The recapture data indicates there is movement and connectivity from as far east as the heads of Port Phillip Bay, to as far west as the Coorong Lagoon. This supports previous genetic research that confirmed Mulloway form one genetic subpopulation from the Coorong to Western Port Bay. Interestingly, we did not observe Mulloway migrating into or out of the heads of Port Phillip Bay. One Mulloway moved as far as 700 km from the Barwon River to the Coorong beach in SA, while another travelled 420 km from the Glenelg River to the Coorong lagoon. Other recapture data highlights finer scale movements of Mulloway between estuaries and nearby coastal waters, such as Mulloway moving between the Glenelg River and coastal waters near Port MacDonnell.

Extent and direction of movement of individual Mulloway based on recapture data.

In addition to the tag and recapture data, an angler survey was conducted to collect further information on angler behaviours and insights. Responses from the survey highlighted the satisfaction and knowledge gained by anglers actively contributing to the research project. Additional infographics were also included in the latest newsletter, to capture the key findings from each major river system – examples provided below.

Since the tagging commenced in late 2017, we have seen over 80 anglers take up the challenge of being a Mulloway tagger. The program has engaged with over 70 additional anglers who have been lucky enough to catch one of these tagged Mulloway. Only a Mulloway angler truly appreciates the time and dedication it takes to target Mulloway. Without the passion and commitment of Mulloway anglers, this tagging program would not be possible – so thank you to each and every angler who has been involved in this program.

Infographic summarising the tag and recapture data for the Glenelg River.
Infographic summarising the tag and recapture data for the South East.
Lauren Brown