Government of Western Australia Official Site


84-year old fish caught in WA


Ken Baston 
Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries

Department of Fisheries researchers discovered a 60cm Bight redfish (Centroberyx gerrardi) that was caught in November 2013 was in fact 84 years old. It broke the record for a long-lived fish in WA waters of 78 years that was held jointly by a western foxfish (Bodianus frenchii) and a bass groper (Polyprion americanus). The Bight redfish was about average size when it was caught off Western Australia’s South Coast late last year.

The fish’s age wasn’t discovered until its skeleton went under the microscope at the Department of Fisheries’ Hillarys research centre recently. The skeleton was collected as part of a State Natural Resource Management office funded research project to assess the overall health of South Coast stocks.

Researchers from the Department of Fisheries, working in collaboration with Murdoch University’s Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, assessed the age of the female fish from examining the growth rings of its ear bones (or otoliths), a method similar to identifying the age of trees from a cross-section of trunk.

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said it was encouraging the research was being supported by recreational fishers and commercial fish processors on the South Coast, who have been donating fish frames of the required species with skeleton and head left intact after filleting. Bight redfish is one of the key species being checked. The project is also looking at pink snapper, blue morwong and three near shore finfish species – Australian herring, King George whiting and tailor.