Project Kingfish is a science initiative led by the SIMS in collaboration with Macquarie University, UNSW and NSW Department of Primary Industries.
The project aims to satellite track movements of mature-sized yellowtail kingfish (>83 cm fork length) to fill current knowledge gaps about their regional movements, habitat use and connectivity, and gain insights into where the east Australian stock may be spawning and recruiting to the coast. To achieve success in this ambitious project, the research team will be partnering up with experienced anglers over the next two years to find, catch and tag suitable fish in various locations off the NSW coast as well as offshore seamounts/islands and other sites of relevance to the stock.
The first satellite tag was recently deployed on a 125 cm kingfish in the waters off Norfolk Island by Project Kingfish collaborator Dr Thomas Clarke and experienced local angler Scotty Greenwood. The tag is very much like a minicomputer. It will log data on swimming depth, activity (via acceleration logged in 3 dimensions), sea temperature and light levels (used to reconstruct the movement track) but won’t report back until it detaches from the fish and floats to the surface a few months later. Once at the surface, the recorded data stream to passing satellites and are then relayed to the research team for analysing the fish’s movements.
The data generated are expected to enhance current understanding of the stock. Once more fish have been tagged, these data should enable the team to explore patterns of kingfish connectivity between coastal/offshore waters and other states, seasonality in regional movements as well as identifying potential spawning sites.
We’ll keep you updated on this exciting new project as news become available. Meantime, follow the Project Kingfish page here for more updates. This project is receiving funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.