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- In Victoria, most bluethroat wrasse is caught using hand line methods with the remainder caught in pots as bycatch in the rock lobster fishery. It is a small scale fishery.
- The fishery is managed in three zones which represent an effort to account for potential localised depletion of stocks.
- There is a moderate level of concern for the health of bluethroat wrasse stocks in Victorian waters. Fishery information used to manage the catch of bluethroat wrasse is somewhat rudimentary, but assessments are updated regularly and management is able to respond to identified trends.
- There are some inadequacies in management arrangements. Requirements for bycatch reporting are poor, unreliable or absent, although the fishery should pose a low risk to bycatch species because of the fishing methods used.
- The fishing methods used pose a low risk to marine habitats. Marine parks provide a small degree of additional protection for bluethroat wrasse, other species and habitats in Victorian waters.
Bluethroat wrasse is an affordable white-fleshed fish. Its simple, tender flesh is well suited to pan-frying with a little butter. It can also be baked or barbecued, fillets will require only a few minutes per side to cook through.
- Ocean Wrasse Fishery, Victorian Rock Lobster Fishery (30t in 2018/19, 32t in 2017/18)
Bluethroat wrasse are a fairly long-lived predatory fish found in southeastern waters around coastal reefs. Bluethroat wrasse are targeted using line fishing methods, which are of low risk to other species. They are also caught as bycatch in other line and pot fisheries targeting rock lobsters.
The stock structure of bluethroat wrasse populations is poorly understood. The species has a complex social structure where adult male fish defend a territory including a harem of females with overlapping home ranges. This likely makes the species vulnerable to localised depletion if fishing effort is concentrated in only a few areas.
Bluethroat wrasse stocks in Victorian waters are slightly below a healthy level, which is of some concern. Despite this, there is evidence that the fishery is on an improving trajectory.
There is no ongoing observer coverage of these fisheries, which is a concern for compliance and bycatch reporting. But the small scale of the fishery, the low impact of the fishing methods used and the presence of marine park protection in Victorian waters all contribute to the amber ranking.