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Tailor Surveys: Protecting Sea Country

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In August and September, Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers Myles Broome, Blayde Foley and Jodie Rainbow travelled to K’gari to assist Queensland Fisheries (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) with their tailor fish surveys for the season on the Eastern side of K’gari.

The BLSR and Queensland Fisheries researchers sampled fish between the Maheno shipwreck to Indian Heads and around Waddy Point. They returned to Orchid Beach and assisted in dissecting the fish, collecting the ear bones (or otoliths) and storing them appropriately to take back to the lab to determine the age and sex of the fish.

Removing otoliths from Tailor to collect data on population dynamics (Photo: BLSR)

Otoliths are composed of a form of calcium carbonate and protein which is laid down at different rates throughout a fish’s life. This process leaves bands (alternating opaque and translucent bands) on the otolith like the growth rings in a tree.

This research is conducted three times a year during the tailor season. The population data is recorded and kept by Fisheries Queensland and shared with BLSR.

The rangers also conducted compliance patrols during the annual Trailor Closure and assisted Queensland Fisheries to remove the tailor season closure signs from Indian Heads to Waddy Point at the end of the closure. The closure is in place to protect tailor as they congregate to spawn, helping ensure the sustainability of fisheries stock for future generations.

During the closure, it is prohibited to take any fin fish from a point 400m north of Waddy Point to 400m south of Indian Head, and 400m out to sea from low water.

Article contributed by the Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers


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