Plan to improve mulloway stocks
RECREATIONAL anglers look set to benefit from a research project that will release thousands of mulloway (jewfish) fingerlings into Northern Rivers estuaries.
Following a successful trial in Botany Bay, the collaborative research project between the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of NSW will release the 135,000 fingerlings over a three-year period.
The captive bred mulloway fingerlings will begin their life in the estuaries at a length of about 30mm, but within two years should grow to a legal length of 45cm.
An important angling species, the mulloway can grow to a length of two metres and can weigh as much as 60kg.
To track the growth rates, migratory patterns and harvesting levels of the fish, researchers will impregnate the fingerlings with a dye that shows up under ultra-violet light but does not affect their flesh or taste.
Some fish will also be fitted with microchips as a backup if the dye fails to mark the growth of the fish.
Northern Rivers anglers will be asked to organise and participate in mulloway angling competitions so the heads and frames of the fish can be collected for scientific re- search.