Southern Garfish

Latin name: Hyporhamphus melanochir

Common names: Garfish, Beakies

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Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • The stock status of southern garfish in VIC is uncertain.
  • Fishery managers measure the health of the stocks from historical catches; while catches have been stable, a decline has been reported in the most recent reports, which is of concern.
  • Southern garfish are caught using fishing methods that are low impact on habitat and other species.
  • Improvements have been made in reporting endangered wildlife interactions.
  • Pipefish are caught as bycatch; an industry code of practise aims to improve the survival rates of bycatch, and almost all pipefish are reported as released alive.

More information

  • VIC Corner Inlet Fishery (28t in 2015-16)

Southern garfish are found in surface waters of estuaries, bays, inlets and gulfs around Australia. Definitive information on the distribution of southern garfish stocks is generally lacking, particularly as most of the fisheries are small in scale. In VIC, fishery managers assess the health of the fish stock by looking at historical catch information and the sizes and ages of the fish caught, among other metrics.

The rate of catch of southern garfish varies over time; catch rates were stable prior to the most recent reported years, but have recently dropped to below the long-term average. A precautionary Amber rating has been applied until more information is available about the health of the stocks targeted.

Southern garfish is caught using lines and haul and dip nets. These methods have generally low impacts on habitats and other species; as fishers are present at the nets during fishing activity, endangered wildlife can be released alive. Fishers have developed a Code of Practise to improve the survival of released fish, and reporting of endangered wildlife interactions has improved in recent years. Pipefish are the predominant species caught in fishing activity, and fishery reports indicate almost all were released alive.