Australian Herring

Latin name: Arripis georgianus

Common name: Tommy Ruff

  • Say No

Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • The same stock of Australian herring is caught in WA and SA; the species has been previously overfished and likely remains in an overfished state.
  • Fishery managers have implemented a plan to rebuild the stock in WA; it is not clear if rebuillding is currently occurring but updated stock assessments due in mid-2018 should provide some clarity.
  • Australian herring is a fast growing species that is quick to mature and produces a high number of offspring, so the population should rebuild quickly if management measures are effective.
  • Haul and herring nets used to catch Australian herring have a low impact on marine habitats and threatened species.

More information

  • SA Marine Scalefish Fishery (94t in 2015)
  • WA West Coast Estuarine Fishery, South Coast Estuarine Fishery, Cockburn Sound (Fish Net) Fishery (73t in 2015)

Australian herring is a species of fish that is endemic to southern Australian waters. There is one stock of Australian herring that breeds in Western Australia, migrates east and then returns to WA waters again to reproduce. The catch of fish in WA used to be predominantly adult fish, whereas the catch in SA is of juvenile fish.

Historical catches of Australian herring were around 1,500t in the 1990’s, and catches have declined significantly over time, due to both concerns over the stock status of Australian herring and the low popularity of the fish to eat. The species is also a key target of recreational fishing.

Measures used to assess the health of the Australian herring population indicate that there are significant concerns over the stock status of the species. The population has been previously overfished, is likely still in an overfished state, and a recovery plan has been put in place by fisheries managers in WA to support the rebuilding of the stock. The measures introduced include reducing the number of Australian herring that can be caught by recreational fishers, closing some of the commercial fisheries and updating stock assessments to identify if recovery of the population is occurring.

Catches of Australian herring in SA are around a quarter of that caught in WA. Although there is limited information on the stock status specific to SA, these fisheries are catching the same fish stock that are caught in WA, which means the same concerns apply.

Australian herring is a fast growing species that is quick to mature and produces a high number of offspring. These biological characteristics mean that the populations should rebuild quickly if the management measures introduced are effective. It is not clear if rebuilding is currently occurring, although a new assessment of the stock is due in mid-2018 that should identify if the management actions are being successful.

Australian herring are caught in haul and herring nets in coastal waters that are attended by fishers. Although observer coverage is low in these fisheries, these types of fishing methods generally have a low impact on threatened species and habitats, and any trapped wildlife can be released alive