- Better Choice
- Stocks of sand whiting in NSW are considered healthy.
- The nets used to catch sand whiting generally have a low impact on habitat.
- 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 sand whiting also catches overfished mulloway, but a recovery plan is in place and the fisheries do not catch a high proportion of mulloway caught in NSW.
Sand Whiting are the smaller, cheaper cousin of the well-regarded King George Whiting. Like other Whitings in the family, Sand Whiting have fine white flesh with a delicate flake and a mild, sweet flavour. They are an affordable and easy-to-use fish, available either whole or ‘butterflied’ with most of their bones already removed. Try Sand Whiting pan-fried or on the BBQ. They can also be crumbed and fried for delicious results. Fine ‘pin-bones’ will dissolve with the application of high heat, and do not need to be removed prior to cooking.
- NSW Estuary General Fishery (87t in 2015)
Stocks of sand whiting in NSW are considered healthy, as commercial catches are stable compared to fishery catch records, indicating that overfishing is not occurring. Catches are low volume in NSW, with the majority of sand whiting coming from QLD.
Fishing for sand whiting generally takes place in estuaries 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 this fishery has a low catch of threatened and protected species based on previous independent observer records of bycatch in the fisheries, although there has been no observer coverage to verify logbook reporting of threatened species interaction reporting since 2009.
The fishing methods used to catch sand whiting have minimal impacts on marine habitat. In addition, the fisheries operate in areas that are afforded some protection by marine parks.
This fishery also catches mulloway, a species that is overfished in NSW. A management plan is in place to reduce the take of mulloway, although it is unclear if this is proving effective at allowing the species to rebuild. The fisheries that take the majority of sand whiting 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 sand whiting to an amber ‘Eat Less’ rating.