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    09038: Protecting inshore and demersal finfish—identification of critical habitats for juvenile dhufish

    Dhufish spotted during a habitat survey. Courtesy Department of Fisheries
    Dhufish spotted during a habitat survey. Courtesy Department of Fisheries

    West Australian dhufish are an iconic fish species endemic to the south-west of the state. An important characteristic of dhufish is that they are 'demersal', which means they live near the seabed.

    The recovery of dhufish is complicated by a range of factors, including the longevity of the species (in excess of 40 years) making them highly vulnerable to exploitation. Dhufish become vulnerable to fishing gear from about their third or fourth year of age but little is known about their early life history.

    Recent stock assessments indicate the species-targeted by both recreational and commercial fishers-is experiencing overfishing and is in a depleted state.

    With funding from the State NRM Program, the Department of Fisheries is investigating the early life history of dhufish, between spawning and becoming vulnerable to fishing gear. Information gathered will assist in the future management of stocks and in protecting the habitat of young fish.

    Investment: $ 337 500
    Delivery organisation: Department of Fisheries
    Project duration: February 2010 - December 2012
    Location: West Coast bioregion, particularly Lancelin to Mandurah

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