Latin name: Pomatomus saltatrix

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Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • Tailor are caught in commercial fisheries in coastal waters, estuaries and river mouths in QLD, NSW, VIC and WA waters.
  • Scientific assessment of the eastern Australian tailor population is done collaboratively, and show healthy abundance in both QLD and NSW.
  • Most QLD tailor catch is from beach haul net and tunnel net fishing methods, which have low-negligible impacts on vulnerable or endangered species and seafloor habitats.
  • Gillnets catching tailor may also catch significant numbers of protected and vulnerable wildlife as bycatch, including turtles, dugongs and sharks and rays.
  • The Moreton Bay and Great Sandy Straits marine parks provide a degree of protection for impacted species and habitats.
  • The fishery observer program in QLD was cancelled in 2012, meaning there is no independent record of the impact of the fishery on threatened species. Observation of the fishery is considered essential to the management of a sustainable fishery.
  • Beach haul net and and tunnel-net caught tailor is a more sustainable option.

Cooking & Recipes


Tailor is a cheap and hugely underrated fish that ticks all the boxes – affordable, sustainable, and delicious! Tailor can be served either as fillets or as whole fish. Try it baked or grilled with lots of fresh herbs and lemon. Alternatively, smoking yields some incredible results. Don’t freeze tailor, as the flesh will become mushy once defrosted.

More information

  • QLD East Coast Inshore Fishery (57t in 2021, 45t in 2020)

Tailor are found in temperate and sub-tropical waters throughout most global ocean basins. They inhabit shallow coastal and estuarine waters, over sandy substrates, where they predate on benthic invertebrates. They are caught in commercial fisheries in QLD, NSW and WA.

Tailor are mostly caught in beach haul and tunnel nets, and to a lesser extent in gillnets, in QLD.

A scientific assessment of the tailor population and modernised management arrangements for the fishery has recently been introduced, which is welcome. The collaborative nature of the assessment between QLD and NSW managers, which catch the same tailor population is a welcome innovation. The QLD tailor population is healthy, and there are plans to rebuild the fishery to highly sustainable levels in future.

The beach haul and tunnel net methods used to catch most tailor in QLD facilitate the release of any unwanted catch with high survival rates, making these fishing methods a relatively low impact and sustainable approach. They are also deployed over sandy or muddy habitats which are resilient to fishing disturbance.

Interactions with turtles have been recorded in fishing operations using gillnets, although it is not clear from fishery reports how many interactions or turtle deaths have occurred. Interactions with dugongs and protected species of shark are also likely in these coastal fisheries, but there is a lack of current information on bycatch across the entire geographical range of the fishery. The small scale of most of the fishing operations and that fishers are present at the nets during fishing means endangered wildlife can be released alive.

The fishery largely operates within the Moreton Bay and Great Sandy Straits marine parks. These offer a significant degree of additional protection for targeted and secondary species, as well as threatened and vulnerable bycatch species.

Fisheries managers in QLD have also reported inconsistencies between fisheries logbook records and information from independent observers, including differences between the number, rate and type of protected species interactions. There is a high probability that protected species bycatch is higher than reported.

Independent fishery observer programs are an important method of verifying protected species interactions. Unfortunately the QLD Government closed the observer program for all QLD managed fisheries in 2012. Since that time there remains no independent on-vessel monitoring of the fishery’s impact. In addition, for fisheries that interact with threatened species, there is no reliable record of actual protected species interactions over time, the ecological impacts of the fishery cannot be measured or managed but gillnet fisheries are considered to pose a moderate risk to a range of threatened and vulnerable species. The small scale and low bycatch of tunnel net and beach haul fishing for tailor suggest a low risk to those species, despite a lack of reliable data.

While significant and laudable management reforms have been implemented in the east coast fishery; there has been insufficient action at time of writing to deliver improved environmental outcomes, particularly for threatened and protected species. These management failures result in a lower ranking at this time. Rankings in this fishery may be expected to improve in future.