Dr Pepperell’s exact science of fishing

World-leading Australian marine biologist Dr Julian Pepperell will be a special guest at the popular GAMEX fishing tournament in Exmouth this month.

GAMEX organisers will be hoping for better luck this year after a looming cyclone forced the cancellation of last year’s event. Dr Pepperell will be at the competition as part of his project to use local fishing tournaments to monitor and research important recreational game fishing species.

This project, supported by Recfishwest and the Department of Fisheries, is funded by your licence money through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF).

His program encourages fishing clubs and recreational fishers to facilitate and conduct monitoring and biological research on billfish, tuna, sharks, mackerel and other fish captured during major game fishing tournaments throughout WA, as well as during normal game fishing club activities.

In New South Wales game fishing tournaments have facilitated more than 40 research projects from more than 20 scientific organisations. These include a range of projects that assist in the management and sustainability of these species through studies of their biology, ageing, genetics, ecology, reproduction and movement.

Dr Pepperell is trialling a new non-invasive genetic sampling technique, which basically involves collecting fish DNA from their external body mucous.

The new technique has been adapted by using ‘FTA Cards’ normally used in human forensic work. FTA Cards are used to store DNA after fish slime has been obtained from the fish and wiped on the cards, ready to be mailed to the lab for genetic analyses.

Marlin and sailfish are ideal subjects for this type of research, as they have been shown to handle catch and release fishing well.

Recfishwest believes that Dr Pepperell’s coordinated biological monitoring and sampling program for tournament and club-based fishing in WA will ultimately provide important data for the purposes of better understanding various species, particularly the movement and population genetics of billfish species inhabiting the Indian Ocean about which very little is currently known.

The program is also archiving tissue samples from all fish weighed at the tournaments for potential future use by researchers both locally and globally.

To date, Dr Pepperell has attended three tournaments in WA resulting in 172 fish being sampled and 747 fish being tagged.

This project is another example that demonstrates a high level of commitment by recreational fishers towards assisting research to improve our knowledge of the state’s fish stocks.

Continue Reading

July 02, 2024

Check out the stunning marine life brimming around the artificial reefs off Mandurah and Perth!

Check this out, metro fishers – large schools of fish being spotted on our Perth “Fish Towers” and Mandurah artificial reefs picked up by our latest scientific monitoring using baited underwater cameras…

Read More

June 26, 2024

King of the Reef crown and $15k up for grabs in Exmouth Fishing for Science comp!

To celebrate the spectacular fishing on offer at Exmouth’s King Reef, Recfishwest is teaming up with Woodside Energy and the Exmouth Game Fishing Club to deliver the ’King of the Reef’ Fishing for Science…

Read More

June 18, 2024

Senior Police Sergeant says fishing safety angel ring saved man’s life at Quobba

A Carnarvon senior police officer at the centre of a risky rescue of a fisher washed off the rocks on our Mid-West coastline said the man would not be alive had he not been kept afloat by an angel ring –…

Read More

June 07, 2024

Gascoyne’s spectacular fishing on full display at Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition!

Hundreds of local community members and more than 250 fishers flocked to Carnarvon to experience the highly anticipated Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition.  Since its inception in 1992, Carnar-Fin has become an annual…

Read More

May 31, 2024

Get your marine park submissions in by June 16 to defend access to our cherished fishing spots

Recfishwest is urging ALL FISHERS who care about protecting access to cherished fishing spots to make a South Coast Marine Parks submission before the June 16 deadline. Whether you live and fish on the South Coast…

Read More

May 30, 2024

Fishing families flock to Denham for 2024 Shark Bay Fiesta!

For the 29th year running, the coastal town of Denham swelled in size for the hugely popular Shark Bay Fiesta that celebrates the fantastic fishing on offer in the Gascoyne region.   Recfishwest joined the Denham…

Read More