Interstate kingfish recapture!

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Troy Harris with the original tag and release.

KINGFISH tagged under NSW DPI's Game Fish Tagging Program are regularly recaptured twice and sometimes even three or four times. The vast majority of multiple recaptures are often juvenile fish (sub 90cm fish) that haven’t travelled far between recapture locations. But for the first time in the history of the Game Fish Tagging Program, a tagged kingy has been recaptured multiple times in different states!

The record-setting recaptured kingfish was originally tagged and released on 18 February 2018 by Troy Harris. Troy was fishing aboard charter boat Reel Therapy which is operated by well-known SA skipper Ryan Carlisle. The fish was originally tagged at Rocky Island offshore of Coffin Bay, SA. The fish was 117cm and 14kg upon release.

Scott Kriticos recaptured the fish after 629 days.

After 629 days the fish was recaptured and re-tagged on 9 November 2019. The fish was caught inside the Spencer Gulf near Whyalla, SA, by Adelaide angler Scott Kriticos. Scott measured the fish at 120cm and 18kg, it had travelled more than 170 nautical miles (~314km) from its original release location.

The fish was then recaptured again 330 days later on 4 October 2020 by keen angler Greg Rafter. Incredibly, the kingy was recaptured offshore of Tweed Heads in Northern NSW, which is more than 1450 nautical miles (~2685km) from the second recapture location. Upon recapture the fish measured 122cm and 15.5kg. Recaptures have shown that these travelling kingies often lose condition during their travels.

Greg Rafter holding the king that was recaptured for the second time.

Overall the fish has spent a total of 959 days at liberty and travelled more than 1620 nautical miles (~3000km), between Rocky Island, Whyalla and then on to Tweed Heads. This recapture highlights the important linkages between South Australia kingfish and those on the East Coast. It also gives valuable insight into the dynamic nature of kingfish movements.

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