Small pelagic fishery
About the small pelagic fishery
The small pelagic fishery extends from just above the Queensland/New South Wales border, around South Australia to Western Australia and stopping near Lancelin (north of Perth). The fishery is rarely fished to the full available quota.
Small pelagic fish are species such as Jack Mackerel, Redbait, Blue Mackerel and Sardines, which all relatively small fish that swim in mid layers of the ocean. These species are a delicious and affordable whole fresh fish and can be served filleted and smoked. They are underutilised as an eating fish by Australians but commonly eaten world-wide.
There is an abundance of these species and they are not red listed by any environmental group. The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) encourage people to seek out these species as a sustainable seafood option.
These species are rapid swimmers with streamlined bodies, capable of sustained long distance migrations. Because they are full of omega 3 oils, they must be looked after carefully to prevent rancidity and spoilage. This means these types of fish must be quickly processed after capture to retain their nutritional values and maintain their suitability for human consumption.
In Australia, there are limited offloading and fish freezing facilities scattered around our extensive coastline capable of processing our target species. For this reason, to maintain high quality produce, trawlers must be large enough to house a freezer and cold storage facilities on-board. This will keep the catch fresh over long distances, preventing spoilage and deterioration.
By managing our catch on-board, we are avoiding substantial infrastructural development smaller vessels require. Processing facilities are limited across Australia’s vast coastline and by freezing our catch on-board we will maintain high quality produce that is nutritious and fit for human consumption.