Mulloway Tagging Program – Summer Update

Since the start of December last year, the Mulloway Tagging Program (funded by VFA through Recreational Fishing License Fees) has recorded thirteen new recaptures.

One recaptured fish took me all the way back to December 2017, when Shane Murrell tagged a 66 cm Mulloway at Browns Bay near Port MacDonnell. A few days after Christmas last year, Steve Gray caught the same fish from a Coorong beach north of Tea-tree Crossing. He measured it to be 98 cm – a total growth of 32 cm. The fish was at liberty for 1150 days (or just over 3 years), breaking our previous record of 754 days.

Steve Gray recaptured this 98 cm Mulloway (VIC0184) from the Coorong just after Christmas. It was originally tagged over three years ago at Browns Bay.
Map showing the movement of fish #VIC0184.

We have previously seen one other Mulloway move westerly from Kingston (tagged October 2019) to the Murray mouth (recaptured November 2019), while another moved in the opposite direction from the Coorong (tagged February 2020) to the Glenelg River (recaptured July 2020). There’s a lot of swimming time to be had in 1150 days so there’s potential that this recently recaptured fish even underwent a return journey at some point!

Another recent recapture further demonstrates how far these fish can travel. The Mulloway was tagged by Mark Hadden in the Glenelg River in November 2019 when it was 51 cm. In late January, Alison Saddlier caught the same fish some 420 km away inside the Coorong. The Mulloway had grown just 9 cm in 455 days. This latest recapture informs us that Mulloway undergo these large movements even as sub-adult fish.

Finally, last November one of our taggers, Dom Gillot and the team from YouFish TV were out fishing on Western Port Bay. They hooked a 129 cm Mulloway which de-hooked itself, right as it reached the boat. Luckily, Dom’s netting skills saw them land the fish. After a quick measure and weigh, the guys tagged it and let it free. This is the largest Mulloway to be tagged in Victoria as part of the program. We have seen a handful of Mulloway tagged over this length in South East SA by Stanley Aardenburg, the biggest being 140 cm. A mighty effort for anyone, let alone a land based angler!

The largest Mulloway tagged in Victoria: this 129 cm fish was tagged and released in Western Port Bay late last year by Dom Gillot and the team at YouFish TV.

A big thanks to these anglers and also those who have been busy tagging over summer.

Lauren Brown