Mulloway surveys

Mulloway fishing is one of the main attractions of the Yalata Coast, on the far west coast of South Australia, attracting many recreational fishers from across Australia.

Why do we do mulloway surveys?

The Yalata coastline is part of an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) and, as well as the ocean beaches along the Coorong near the Murray Mouth, is a known site that mulloway regularly gather to breed.

Anecdotal evidence from the local Yalata Aboriginal and recreational fishing communities has indicated that the mulloway population is declining Research findings have suggested that while far west coast mulloway grow faster than those at the Coorong, sexual maturity in both populations is reached at the same age. This presents a problem for the far west coast mulloway, as the larger fish are being taken before sexual maturity is reached, potentially affecting mulloway fish stocks in the area and making them more susceptible to the impacts of overfishing.

Annual surveys help us to improve our current knowledge of the far west coast mulloway population by establishing:

  • numbers of juvenile fish in the area
  • age, size and growth ranges
  • key spawning and feeding locations.

What has been done?

Alinytjara Wilurara worked with South Australian Research and Development Institute – Aquatic Sciences, University of Adelaide and the Yalata community to collect data about the mulloway, including their size, sex and maturity and the number of fish caught and released.

Steps were also taken to educate the recreational fishing community about sustainable fishing practices in the area. This included providing brochures to and directly interviewing recreational fishers camping and fishing along the Yalata coastline during mulloway fishing season.

Information was also collected about how to better manage designated camping areas, regulate all-terrain vehicle access and improve the way that visitors dispose of mulloway carcasses at Yalata to minimise risks to endangered, rare and vulnerable species in the area and ensure sustainable fishing practices.