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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Tailor management

Recreational and commercial fishers target tailor and we manage both fishing sectors together to ensure long-term sustainability.

The commercial fisheries are managed by entry limits and gear restrictions, including limits on vessel size, net length and mesh size. Since the 1990s, when there was a marked decline in size and numbers of tailor caught, the number of commercial vessels fishing for tailor has been reduced by a State Government scheme to buy back licences.

We manage recreational fishing through bag and size limits.

On reaching maturity, tailor in the Perth metropolitan region leave the protection of estuaries and begin schooling along the beaches in spring and summer.

Tailor has traditionally been an important species to recreational fishers. In years gone by, thousands of fishers chased the annual tailor summer run along Perth beaches. This appears to have contributed to a decline in size and numbers of tailor caught in the metropolitan area since the 1980s. Adding to the problem was an extended period of low ‘recruitment’ (addition of young fish to the population) in the metropolitan area in the early to mid 1990s.

Monitoring, assessment and research

Monitoring tailor stocks is partially based on commercial catch and effort statistics from compulsory monthly returns. Recreational fishing data from volunteers’ log books is also used.

In addition, the abundance of juveniles at locations in the south and on metropolitan beaches is measured every year between February and April. Volunteers, supervised by our scientists, provide crucial help to catch, measure and release the fish.

The catch-rate of these juvenile tailor provides an index of annual strength of recruitment. Scientists use this to monitor the status (health) of the Perth tailor fishery.

Tailor status 2011

​Region Breeding stock level ​
Amount of fishing (effort)
​Gascoyne Coast Bioregion Adequate ​
​West Coast Bioregion (includes Perth coastal area)

Tailor is a vulnerable species. To manage stocks better, we need to know more about the species, including the age structure of the population, reproduction, their movements and the dynamics of recruitment.

A pilot study is being done on tailor movements using high-tech acoustic tags. These tags are surgically implanted into the fish and emit regular signals picked up by acoustic receivers or listening posts.

Otoliths (ear bones) of juvenile tailor are also being studied in detail so researchers can assess the age of fish in various locations. Tailor grow rapidly so the age of small fish can be estimated in days, rather than years. This information is used to calculate the day they were spawned and, if combined with information on prevailing currents, can be used to deduce possible areas where they were spawned.

Evidence from juvenile tailor research in the Swan River suggests that tailor in Perth originate from two separate spawning events. It appears one group is spawned locally around Perth in autumn, while the other is spawned to the north (probably near Geraldton or Kalbarri) in spring. The northern group is transported as larvae to Perth and as far south as Dunsborough and Geographe Bay by ocean currents.

This means we need to carefully manage tailor populations in both spawning areas to ensure the sustainability of the fishery.



Last modified: 25/06/2013 2:24 PM

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