Anglers catching tailor on Fraser can help biologists

FISHERS heading to Fraser Island to catch tailor from Saturday can get involved in scientific monitoring by allowing their catch to be measured and by donating their fish skeletons.

Fisheries Queensland biologist Jason McGilvray said biologists would be collecting biological data from tailor and other beach-caught species at Fraser Island from September 28 until to  October 4.

"Each year, in late winter and spring, large numbers of fishers gather along the ocean beaches on Fraser Island to fish for tailor," he said.

"Since 1999, Fisheries Queensland has conducted surveys on Fraser Island to collect biological information on tailor caught during this time.

"Biologists record the length and sex of caught fish, and remove otoliths (ear bones, which are used to estimate the age of fish) from a sub-sample of fish frames donated by anglers.

"During the previous two surveys this year, biologists encountered overwhelming support from recreational anglers.

"Over 3500 tailor were measured and more than 200 pairs of otoliths (ear bones) were collected.

"We're hoping to receive continued high levels of support from fishers during this third round of surveying."

Mr McGilvray said Fisheries Queensland monitored the tailor fishery year round.

"The biological data collected on tailor each year is collated with information collected from other sources including commercial fishing logbooks, recreational catch estimates and outputs from stock assessments to determine the status of the tailor stock," he said.

"Tailor is currently classified as sustainably fished."

Mr McGilvray said biological information was collected for a range of species besides tailor, including barramundi, bream, whiting, flathead, rocky reef fish (such as snapper and pearl perch), sea mullet, Spanish mackerel, spotted mackerel and grey mackerel.

"Many of the fisheries have significant recreational and commercial sectors, so it is important to collect information from both groups to obtain a clear picture of the whole fishery for each species," he said.

"Information collected helps us assess the status of fish stocks and fisheries management arrangements."

Mr McGilvray said monitoring programs relied heavily on community involvement for the collection of biological data to monitor age and length characteristics of fish stocks through time.

"Getting involved in the Fraser Island survey is easy," he said.

"If you see our biologists on the island, simply let them measure your catch or donate your fish frames."

To get involved in fisheries monitoring, find out about the keen angler program at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or by phoning 132 523.