Over the last week or so, there's been some robust social media debate about the breeding potential of "croc-sized" dusky flathead. Seeing flathead are a perennial favourite with anglers in NSW, NSW DPI Fisheries thought this research data from a post originally made on this page in mid-2017 would help inform the debate ...
DPI Fisheries researchers are providing some very interesting info on the biology of one of our most iconic estuary sportfish, the dusky flathead.
For example, did you know that an 80cm female dusky flathead can produce about 2 million eggs when she spawns? That's equivalent to the number of eggs produced by 12 smaller flathead of around 35cm in size.
Research also indicates that not only are trophy-sized dusky flathead an important part of the population due to large amount of eggs they produce, but their presence also helps maintain a more natural age-structure within the fishery.
Evidence of "degenerative" or non-viable ovaries in trophy-sized females individuals has not been recorded in research of the species in NSW.
All large female flathead so far examined by DPI researchers have possessed healthy and viable ovaries, meaning they are likely to be active and productive breeders.
So if you want to see more productive and abundant flathead stocks in NSW, it may well be that big flatties really are too good to catch just once ...
Photos from NSW DPI Fisheries