Tailor monitoring

Tailor is a widely fished species commonly found along the east coast of Australia from Wilson's Promontory (Victoria) to the northern tip of Fraser Island (Queensland).

Tailor can tolerate a range of salinities and are found in estuarine, bay and coastal water habitats. Throughout winter and spring, schools of mature tailor undertake a northward migration which is associated with spawning. These characteristics provide a variety of opportunities for shore-based and boat-based anglers to catch tailor year-round.

Since 1999, Fisheries Queensland scientists have routinely monitored tailor by collecting the length, sex and age of fish (see photos) caught by commercial and recreational fishers between the Queensland – New South Wales border and the northern tip of Fraser Island.

Fisheries Queensland uses this data, along with other information, to help determine the current status of the tailor stock and the sustainability of the tailor fishery in Queensland.

Tailor is currently classified as Sustainably Fished.

Fish length

The majority of tailor caught by both recreational and commercial fishery sectors are between 35 and 50 cm. More than 50% of fish caught are between 35 ­and 40 cm (see length frequency graph).

Few fish longer than 70 cm are observed in the harvest. This is a characteristic that has been observed throughout the history of the monitoring program.

Fish Age

Tailor are fast growing and relatively short-lived predators. Tailor reach maturity at around one or two years of age. The majority of tailor caught by recreational and commercial fishers are between two and five years of age (see age frequency graph).

In 2009, when the minimum legal size (MLS) for tailor was 30 cm, the harvest of both recreational and commercial fishery sectors was dominated by two year old fish. In 2010 the MLS was increased to 35 cm. Since then, a relatively lower proportion of two year olds have been observed in the harvest (e.g. 2013, see age frequency graph), as a large proportion of fish between 30 and 35 cm are two year olds and would not be retained by fishers.

The oldest tailor aged in the monitoring program in 2013 was six years of age. This fish had a total length of 73 cm (approx 3.5 kg) and was caught in the recreational fishery sector.

How old is your fish?

A legal sized tailor (35 cm TL) is on average two years of age. Find out how old your fish is using the age-at-length graph (Figure).

Support and assistance

Thank you to all stakeholders who have generously assisted with the monitoring of tailor by donating frames or allowing Fisheries Queensland staff to measure their fish.