- Better Choice
- Stocks of dusky flathead in NSW and VIC are considered healthy.
- The nets used to catch dusky flathead generally have a low impact on habitats.
- Fishery impacts on threatened species appear minimal, although there has been no independent observer coverage in recent years.
- Fishers are generally present at the nets during fishing, which means endangered wildlife can be released alive.
- The fishery that catches dusky flathead in NSW also catches overfished mulloway, but a recovery plan is in place and the fisheries do not catch a high proportion of mulloway.
- An on-going assessment of the stock status of other species caught in the VIC fishery does not indicate any concerns.
Flathead is a versatile and affordable fish that will fast become a favourite of the whole family. Boneless ‘tails’ are great for the kids. These can be pan-fried, barbecued or baked in the oven for a no-fuss dinner. They are also excellent crumbed (or battered) and then pan-fried or deep-fried for perfect fish and chips. Whole flathead can be roast in a hot oven with oil, salt, lemon and herbs. They make an impressive centrepiece, and the firm moist flesh will fall easily away from the bones, making them easy to serve and eat.
- NSW Estuary General Fishery (111t in 2015)
- VIC Gippsland Lakes Fishery (16t in 2015-16)
Stocks of dusky flathead in NSW and VIC are considered healthy, as commercial catches are stable compared to long-term fishery catch records, indicating that overfishing is not occurring.
Fishing for dusky flathead generally takes place in estuaries and nearshore environments using various types of nets, all of which have a low impact on habitats. As fishers are present at the nets during fishing, endangered wildlife can be released alive. It is also likely that these fisheries have a low catch of threatened and protected species based on previous independent observer records of bycatch in NSW, although there has been no observer coverage to verify logbook reporting of threatened species interaction reporting since 2009. This fishery is small scale in VIC and operates in a limited area. While there is no observer coverage, it is highly unlikely that there are significant interactions with endangered wildlife.
The fishing methods used to catch dusky flathead have minimal impacts on marine habitats. In addition, the fisheries operate in areas that are afforded some protection by marine parks and spatial closures.
The NSW fishery also catches mulloway, a species that is overfished in NSW. A management plan is in place to reduce the take of mulloway, but it is unclear whether this is proving effective at allowing the species to rebuild. The fisheries that take the majority of dusky flathead do not catch a high proportion of mulloway caught in NSW, so are unlikely to be significantly affecting the health of the population. However, if improvements to mulloway stocks are not apparent during the next assessment, it is likely to result in a downgrading for dusky flathead to an amber ‘Think Twice’ rating.
An on-going assessment of the stock status of other species caught in the VIC fishery does not indicate any concerns