Brad's catch of the day: yellowtail kingfish, and research!
University of Adelaide researcher Brad Smith is enjoying the best of both worlds as he pursues wild yellowtail kingfish in Port Augusta.
The avid fisherman, who holds the South Australian record of 36kg for a kingfish in the 24kg line class, is currently in Port Augusta capturing, tagging, and then releasing kingfish as part of a project to investigate their seasonal migratory habits.
Awarded to the University of Adelaide, the aim of the $500,000 three-year project is to learn more about the habits of wild fish.
"Limited data exists on wild populations of yellowtail kingfish in South Australia and the commercial fishery in South Australia is small. They are, however, a prized catch for recreational anglers," says Dr Bronwyn Gillanders, a Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide.
"Kingfish are believed to migrate to northern Spencer Gulf seasonally, possibly as part of a spawning migration.
"Adult kingfish are thought to leave the Spencer Gulf in summer and disperse after congregating for a brief period in areas such as Coffin Bay. The exact nature of kingfish migrations in Spencer Gulf remains unknown."
Dr Gillanders said this is one of a number of 'Innovative Solutions' research projects jointly funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Primary Industries Resources South Australia that focus on the sustainable management of resources, establishing environmental benchmarks, improving aquaculture productivity and better use of technology in aquaculture.
Earlier this year, Brad tagged 10 fish over 15kg including a 36.2kg fish, all landed using rod and reel. One was recaptured in the same location three months later.
Brad is now working with Reggie Godfrey, a retired professional fisherman from Port Augusta, to capture, tag and release even more of these large fish.
Representatives from the Adelaide Game Fishing Club have also volunteered for the project. South Australian Fish Tagging, who co-ordinate the database on tagging and recaptures, provide the tags.
Certain information is required if a tagged fish is caught: tag or serial number; the date the fish was caught; the location where it was caught; the species of fish caught (whether it was kept or not); and the fish's length and weight (or estimate if released).
Story by Howard Salkow