Feature Article - Striped trumpeter
The Striped Trumpeter (Latris lineata) is a widespread Tasmanian fish highly prized as a table fish. It is also found in southern Australian waters and around New Zealand. They live mainly on the continental shelf over rocky bottoms to depths of about 300 m.
During the first half of the 1980s annual catches in Tasmania were less than 5 tonnes. In 1990 and 1991 catches were over 70 tonnes.
Striped Trumpeter is taken by a number of fishing methods, principally hook fishing, which typically accounted for 70% of the catch in the 1990s. Gillnets represented a further 20% of the catch. Recreational anglers also take Striped Trumpeter but the extent of their catch is not known.
While Striped Trumpeter is taken from around Tasmania, about 80% is taken from shelf grounds on the East Coast and Flinders Island. Smaller catches are taken from the north-west, west and south-west. The reason for this is not clear, but these varying catches may be an indication of trumpeter numbers or reflect the concentration of fishing activity around the State.
Most catches occur in summer and autumn. Most fish caught are between 50 and 70 cm, well over the legal limit of 33 cm. Occasionally individuals are caught over 80 cm in length and have been measured at up to 120 cm in length and 25 kg in weight.
Current stock levels in Tasmanian waters are not known though there are concerns that localised depletions are occurring. More information is needed on the Striped Trumpeter especially its movements, reproductive biology, growth and mortality.
Source: Jeremy Lyle, 'Species status report: Striped Trumpeter', Fishing today, Hobart, April/May 1995.