WEST Australian fishing couple Natasha and Damond Briggs were surprised recently when they hauled in a 14kg dolphinfish close to shore near Albany on the state's south coast.
“Been fishing most of my life,” Natasha said. “Never had a result like this!”
This catch is noteworthy due to the fact dolphinfish (or mahi mahi) are rarely caught close to shore and are commonly found around deep water FADs. They also prefer tropical water temperatures of between 21-30°C.
“It was really a cunning fish and it took me under and around the boat a couple of times,” Natasha said. “After a 25 minute battle we managed to get it to the boat.”
Natasha shared this photo on REDMAP, a log-a-fish App asking fishers for sightings of fish that are not usually found in their local seas.
Redmap founder, marine researcher Gretta Pecl from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, said water temperatures off Australia’s south-west and south-east coasts are warming three to four times faster than other regions due to climate change. In the last 60 years the East Australian Current (EAC) has become stronger, pushing warmer water further south, and WA’s Leeuwin Current has started to slowly weaken.
Redmap asks for sightings and photos of fish you consider uncommon at your local fishing spots. Your observations help scientists track any shifts in the distribution of marine life along Australia’s vast coastline.
Download the Redmap app, follow on Facebook or check out www.redmap.org.au. Redmap is hosted by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania.