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Kingfish Movement Insights

October 7, 2021
Kingfish Movement Insights

Two kingfish originally tagged in very different locations have been recaptured off Yamba on the same day by the same fisher. The two recaptures highlight the dynamic and variable movement patterns of the iconic species, while it also gives a small insight into the potential of genetic mixing between different populations.

The mighty kingfish. Just as popular in Aussie as they are in New Zealand (although the kingies do travel to Aus, Aussies come here to catch the big ones!)

The first kingy was originally tagged on 27 December 2020 by gun angler Scott Lihou, who was fishing offshore of Port Lincoln, SA. The fish measured 126cm total length and was estimated to be 14.5kg.

Fast forward 249 days to 2 September 2021, and the fish was recaptured by a commercial fisher who was fishing around Yamba, NSW.

The fish weighed in at a solid 22.5kg upon recapture, showing considerable growth. During it’s time at liberty, the fish travelled some 1,300 nautical miles (2,405km) from the original release location.

The second fish was recaptured on the same day and in the same location by the same fisher. Interestingly this fish wasn’t sporting a NSW DPI tag, rather a New Zealand gamefish tag!

A quick email to our counterpart John Holdsworth from Bluewater Marine Research determined that this fish was originally tagged at Gannet Island offshore of Raglan, New Zealand.

Raglan is located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The fish was originally tagged on 14 February 2018 by keen angler Richard Hart. Richard measured the fish at 97cm and it was estimated to be 10kg. Upon recapture the fish weighed 20.8kg.

The fish spent 1296 days at liberty and was caught more than 1165 nautical miles (~2,155km) from its original release location.

Historically, there have only been three other reported recaptures of New Zealand tagged kingfish in Australian waters.

All three fish were originally tagged at the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Two were recaptured at Montague Island and the other was recaptured at Jervis Bay.

The Game Fish Tagging Program is a great example of your fishing fees at work!

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