Catch, Effort and CPUE
Whilst Tiger Flathead has a long history of commercial fishing in Tasmania, this species has only been distinguished from Southern Sand Flathead in fishery returns data since 2007/08. Since 2007/08, Tiger Flathead catches have fluctuated widely, between approximately 15-75 t (Figure below). In 2020/21, the total commercial catch of Tiger Flathead was 60.8 t, a substantial increase from the previous two years and similar to earlier peaks of >60 t in 2007/08, 2009/10, 2015/16 and 2016/17 (Figure below). In 2020/21, all Tiger Flathead landings were taken from the east and southeast coasts, which have been the dominant regions for the fishery since 2007/08. Previous stock assessment reports show back-calculated estimates of species-specific catch prior to 2007/08 (Fraser et al. 2021). These earlier estimates show fluctuations similar to fishing years post-2007/08, with annual catches between 20 and 80 t without an obvious trend.
Danish seine effort and CPUE in 2020/21 increased on both the east and south east coasts relative to the previous year. Peaks in Danish seine catch, effort, and CPUE are influenced by a small number of operators that have primarily targeted Tiger Flathead. Therefore, fluctuations in these metrics are likely a reflection of the degree of targeting by those fishers in any given year.
Estimates of recreational Flathead catch did not distinguish between Tiger Flathead and Southern Sand Flathead until 2017/18. However, Tiger Flathead constitute approximately 10% of recreational flathead harvest, placing recreational catches of this species well below commercial catches across the time series (Fraser et al. 2021). In 2017/18, the recreational catch of Tiger Flathead was estimated to be approximately 39% of the commercial catch (Figure above), and approximately 8% of the recreational catch estimate for southern Sand Flathead (Lyle et al. 2019). Thus, the recreational fishery for Tiger Flathead is significantly less important than for Southern Sand Flathead, and less important than the commercial Tiger Flathead fishery.
The full 2020/21 Scalefish Assessment, released Dec 2022, can be found at the link: