Monitoring our grey mackerel

A grey mackerel

Commercial fishers and wholesalers provided Fisheries Queensland access to grey mackerel before their sale.

Fisheries Queensland monitored grey mackerel to collect essential biological information needed to assess the stocks to assist in the sustainable management of the species.

Grey mackerel (Scomberomorus semifasciatus) are pelagic fish found in coastal waters, particularly around headlands and rocky reefs but also offshore. Grey mackerel may reach 120 cm in length and 12 years of age.

Within Australian waters, grey mackerel are caught in Shark Bay in Western Australia, across northern Australia and down the east coast of Queensland to northern New South Wales.

Commercial catches of grey mackerel peaked in 2008-09 at 440 t. More than 90 per cent of Queensland's commercial grey mackerel catches are taken in the net fishery. In 2009-10 a total allowable catch of 250 t was introduced for the commercial fishery. Small amounts of grey mackerel are also taken from commercial line and recreational line fisheries.

Most of the commercial grey mackerel caught in Queensland waters are sold domestically, usually at local fish and chips shops. There is also a small export market for the species.

How was the information used?

The biological information collected through the monitoring program was combined with other available information such as catch and effort data from compulsory commercial logbooks and periodic recreational phone and diary surveys. This information was used in the assessment of grey mackerel stocks and to evaluate fisheries management arrangements. This information was also used in the recent stock assessment of the species.

How were they monitored?

Routine monitoring of grey mackerel on the east coast of Queensland was conducted (2008-2016), to collect biological information required for an age-structured stock assessment. The program collected biological data on length, sex and age of fish predominately caught in the commercial fishery. When available, data was also obtained from the recreational fishery.

The monitoring focused on regions where most grey mackerel catches occurred including Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Keppel and Curtis Coasts and Hervey Bay. This monitoring succeeded thanks to the voluntary participation of the fishing industry.

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Last updated 03 January 2017