Understanding the movement, behaviour and post-release survival rates of Swordfish to sustainably develop a new large pelagic game fishery off the coast of Tasmania – a pilot study

Project Number:



Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona

Principal Investigator:

Sean Tracey

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Adoption, Environment, Industry

Understanding the movement, behaviour and post-capture survival of recreationally caught Swordfish from southeast Australia – a pilot study

Final Report
ISBN:978-1-925646-52-8 (print) 978-1-925646-51-1 (electronic)
Author(s):Sean Tracey
Date Published:January 2019
While recreational fishers in Australia have targeted Swordfish in the past, both at night-time with shallow set baits and during the day with deep-set baits, success had been limited with only a few Swordfish reported landed. In 2014, adjacent to the coast of Tasmania an individual fisher had repeated success targeting Swordfish on the continental shelf break using the deep-dropping method during the day-time, fishing in depths of approximately 400 – 600 m. The reporting of this success garnered significant interest by the game fishing community in Australia, and the fishery developed further in Tasmania over subsequent years, as well as southeast Victoria. A small amount of targeted effort using the same methods and subsequent catch was also reported in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. The fishery however is still relatively niche.


1. Preliminary quantification of post-release survival rates for Swordfish caught by recreational fishers

2. Determine migratory behaviour of Swordfish caught off the east coast of Tasmania based on data from satellite tags

3. Collect biological samples for use in future molecular stock structure and heavy metal accumulation analyses

4. Deliver a desktop review of contemporary and innovative management methodologies for the sustainable development of recreational opportunities related to large game species (reviewing both aquatic and terrestrial literature).