Southern Sand Flathead
2019/20 Assessment Summary
Recreational catches dominate landings of Southern Sand Flathead in Tasmania. Fishery independent surveys suggest relatively low abundances of legal sized fish in southeast and eastern Tasmania where populations are subject to heavy fishing pressure. While the increase in the minimum size limit in 2015 and a reduction in the bag limit seemed to reduce catches, current levels of fishing pressure, particularly on females, could still cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery
Catch, effort and CPUE trends
Sand Flathead are caught commercially mainly by handlining, but are also taken as a by-product in gillnets and Danish seines. Since Sand Flathead and Tiger Flathead were not routinely distinguished in commercial catch returns until 2007 species-specific catches prior to 2007 have been inferred using species proportions by method for catches taken between 2007/08 and 2011/12. Thus, species-specific effort and catch rates are considered reliable only since 2007/08.
Sand Flathead are targeted recreationally by handline (including rod and line) and constitute around 90% of the total flathead recreational harvest in Tasmania. This is the most important species in the Tasmanian recreational fishery, with the most recent estimate of recreational harvest more than 85 times greater than the total commercial catch in 2019/20 (Lyle et al. 2019).
The full 2019/20 Scalefish Assessment can be found at the link: