King George Whiting
2019/20 Assessment Summary
King George Whiting is a range-extending species that has attracted increasing interest from both the commercial and recreational sector. The current level of fishing pressure on King George Whiting within Tasmanian waters is unlikely to cause the biological stock to become recruitment impaired. Pre-emptive monitoring and management might be required if interest in this species continues to increase.
Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery
Catch, effort and CPUE trends
King George Whiting are found in Australia’s southern coastal waters, including northern Tasmania. This species is associated with sand and seagrass habitat, with juveniles commonly found abundantly in patches of sand among sheltered, shallow seagrass, while adults normally inhabit more exposed sandy areas (Edgar 2008). Commercial exploitation of King George Whiting in mainland state waters is well established and there exists a small but developing commercial fishery in northern Tasmania. Commercial operators use gillnet and handline gear in exposed coastal waters near Stanley in the northwest and in the Tamar estuary in the north. King George Whiting are also caught commercially around Flinders Island using beach seine, purse seine and small mesh nets.
While commercial catch and effort have been increasing in northern Tasmania since 1995, catch is still relatively low and the increase is minor compared with the expansion of the recreational fishery, which is responsible for the majority of landings and comprises mostly juvenile fish taken from estuaries. King George Whiting is a potential range-extending species, with some evidence of increasing numbers and distribution in Tasmanian waters (Robinson et al. 2015), and possible movement down the east coast south of St Helens (Redmap Australia 2021).
The full 2019/20 Scalefish Assessment can be found at the link: