Juvenile kingies get a royal flush from stocking “cannon”

Another 20,000 juvenile yellowtail kingfish have been stocked into Perth waters – the latest batch of fish to be released in the State Government’s three-year yellowtail kingfish stocking program.

Fremantle Sailing Club and the Cockburn Powerboats Club each hosted the release of 10,000 juvenile yellowtail kingfish hatched and reared at DPIRD’s Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research (ACAAR).

The initiative was part of the recfishing COVID recovery package announced by Premier Mark McGowan and Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland in August, 2020.

All the fish were released at a slightly larger size than previous release in the 15-20g bracket using DPIRD’s “kingie cannon” – a large pipe down which the fish gush out straight into their new environment from DPIRD’s stocking trailer.

Not only does this improve the transport and release of the fish, but also increases their chances of survival into larger line-sizzling giants that metro sport fishers.

With these kingies now released after the most vulnerable phase of their lifecycle, combined with their fast growth rate – nearly 5kg in only 18 months – it should mean those fish that make it into adulthood should be of legal size by 2024.

Daniel Bullock with a nice adult yellowtail Kingfish caught off Perth – photo courtesy of Beau Suladra

Need tips and advice on how to catch kingies? Click here for Scott Coghlan’s Scott’s Species article on catching kingies

Play your part and send DPIRD your kingie skeletons

All the juvenile kingfish reared for these releases team have had their otoliths (ear bones) stained allowing fish from the stocking program to be identified when caught and analysed in the future.

The initiative is breaking new ground and fishers can play a part in helping monitor its progress by donating their kingie frames to DPIRD’s Send Us Your Skeletons program.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said the collaboration with DPIRD along with support from Daiwa, Recfishwest’s official community fish stocking partners, is a great example of how partnership-working and fishing stocking programs can have positive benefits for recreational fishers.

“These kingfish like the rest of their Seriola family are hardy, fast-growing – so they’re a great species for stocking,” said Andrew. “The first batch of fish released two years ago should have reached legal size by now – so it’s going to be interesting to see if and how many of these fish start showing up in fishers’ catches.

“We’ve been really pleased to see the Government getting behind innovative initiatives like this – we don’t just want sustainable fish stocks, we want abundant fish stocks and it’s really important fishers play their part by donating their kingie frames and assist in determining just how effective stocking of pelagic species like these can be.”

Check out our happy snaps from the kingie releases