REC anglers in WA's south-west could find themselves landing a cash prize by catching a
tagged herring as part of a new Department of Fisheries research study.
Cash prizes of from $5 to $100 are being offered for the capture and return to the Department of any herring with an orange tag near its dorsal fin.
Herring are highly valued by recreational fishers in the West Coast Bioregion and are the 'lifeblood' of fishing on many beaches.
"Herring is the most common fish species captured by recreational fishers in the West Coast Bioregion, which makes them a very important species," said Department of Fisheries Senior Research Scientist Dr Kim Smith.
The study is building on a two-year research project examining the status of near-shore finfish stocks. The tagging aims to gather data about the movement of herring in the West Coast Bioregion, their abundance and mortality rate.
Dr Smith said, "We are interested in discovering what herring do after they migrate to the West Coast Bioregion to spawn. We'd like to know if they're moving around the whole bioregion, or, if they stay in one location, and for how long?
"This information is critical for developing effective future management arrangements for this important species, especially as the catch and fishing pressure is not evenly distributed across the West Coast Bioregion."
The project is well underway, with a team of volunteers and Fisheries staff recently releasing hundreds of tagged herring near Dunsborough, which are now ready for recapture. A second wave of tagging is planned to take place in late 2012 with more due in 2013 and 2014. The Department aims to have thousands of herring tagged by the end of 2014.
Anyone catching a tagged herring should ring the number on the tag (0459 846772) giving the details of capture and the unique number on the tag.
To claim your cash prize, take the fish, or the fish frame (filleted skeleton with the guts
and head still intact) and the tag to either Bunbury, Busselton, Mandurah, Perth or
Geraldton Fisheries offices (visit www.fish.wa.gov.au for offices' addresses).