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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
A comparison of a mulloway and black jewfish, showing the different tails
While looking similar to mulloway, black jewfish (bottom) can be identified by its diamond shaped tail. Illustrations ©R.Swainston/
Tuesday 22 May 2018

Tail is the key to jewfish ID

Recreational fishers visiting the North West sometimes mistake a black jewfish for a mulloway, which is mainly fished for in WA’s south-west.

Although these species may look similar, the tail is the key to identification. The rear edge of a mulloway tail is straight while the black jewfish tail flares out at the centre, giving the tail a diamond shape.

Our northern Fisheries and Marine Officers have reported a number of mistaken identities recently and advise that learning to tell mulloway (river kingfish) from black jewfish (northern mulloway) is important as they have different minimum size limits.

The minimum legal size for mulloway is 500 mm, while the minimum legal size for black jewfish is 700 mm, as they mature at a slower rate than mulloway.

If you’re fishing north of Exmouth Gulf and you catch one of these fish, it will almost certainly be a black jewfish, meaning you can only legally keep it if it measures at least 700 mm from the point of the snout to the tip of the tail. Fishers must return any undersize fish to the water immediately, with the least possible injury.

For more information see our recreational fishing rules.

You can also download our Recreational fishing guide in booklet size or the A4 print-friendly version.

Last modified: 22/05/2018 10:39 AM

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