King Threadfin


Latin name: Polydactylus macrochir


Common names: Threadfin, Blink Tassal Fish

  • Say No

Wild Caught

Region:
NT

Key Facts

  • King threadfin are found throughout tropical Australian inshore, estuarine and freshwaters, and are also found in southern Papua New Guinea.
  • King threadfin is targeted and caught in the gillnet fisheries that predominantly target barramundi. Populations are considered healthy, though it is concerning that the scientific assessment this is based on has not been published to enable scrutiny of this conclusion.
  • Given the indiscriminate nature of the gillnet fishing methods used, barramundi fisheries have high levels of bycatch. The NT Barramundi Fishery is known to catch a wide variety of threatened and protected species, such as dolphins, turtles, northern river and scalloped hammerhead sharks, and dugongs.
  • The likely levels of bycatch in this fishery have a high potential to be causing declines of endangered sawfish populations.
  • Despite an effort to improve reporting, the independent monitoring project started in 2018 was largely inadequate with findings unpublished to date and reporting remains unreliable.

More information

  • Northern Territory Barramundi Fishery (238t in  2019)

King threadfin are found throughout tropical Australian inshore, estuarine and freshwaters, and are also found in southern Papua New Guinea. King threadfin are caught commercially in QLD, the NT and WA jurisdictions, where there is a significant recreational catch. Threadfin are caught using demersal gillnet fishing methods, and are taken in target fishing and as byproduct in barramundi target fishing. The largest fishery is the NT barramundi fishery.

King threadfin have unusually fine-scale populations structure, with different populations found between different estuarine and river catchment areas across the NT. This makes managing fishing impacts particularly complex, as there is a high potential for localised overfishing to occur because even nearby populations may not be able to replenish a population depleted by fishing.

Scientific stock assessments indicate that populations of king threadfin in the NT are healthy, but these assessments have not been published. This is a concern, as it hinders scrutiny of these vital studies.

Given the indiscriminate nature of the gillnet fishing methods used, barramundi fisheries have high levels of bycatch. The NT Barramundi Fishery is known to catch a wide variety of threatened and protected species, such as dolphins, turtles, northern river and scalloped hammerhead sharks, and dugongs.

The likely levels of bycatch in this fishery have a high potential to be causing declines of endangered sawfish populations.

Despite an effort to improve reporting, an independent monitoring project started in 2018 was largely inadequate with findings unpublished to date and reporting remains unreliable.