Dusky Flathead are a popular food species for all fishers as well as a popular target for sports fishers.

  • Overview


    Crystal Bowl GBR is aiming to examine 3 core measures across a wide range of species in the region:

    • Fishing experience (how many fish per trip)
    • Quality of the fish (size of fish)
    • Community attitudes (number of legal sized fish kept or released)


    Fishing Experience

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported a catch rate of 0.02 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • Local Sportfishers have reported a catch rate of 1 fish/fisher/day in 2018 so far
    • Townsville ranked 12th in the state for Dusky Flathead Catch Rates
    • A decline in Commercial Catch Rates reported, dropping from 6.14 kg/day (2016) to 3.72 kg/day (2017)


    Quality of the Fish

    • Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys reported the average size of flathead caught in 2017 was 517mm
    • Townsville ranked 5th in the State for size of Flathead (based on Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys - based on min 100 fish reported)


    Community Attitudes

    • 62% of fish reported at Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp surveys were kept
    • 79% of fish reported in 2017 were caught by locals
    • Townsville ranked 14th in the state for the number of fish released


  • Forecast

    Moderate Take For Consumption Advised

    Forecast Pending.

     NOTE: Moderate take means taking what is required for immediate needs.

  • Qld FIsheries Boat Ramp Surveys - General Fishers

    Monitoring of Recreational Catch by Qld Fisheries

    Queensland Fisheries monitors boat ramps up and down the coast as a part of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. Fishers in Townsville regularly report catching Flathead with more than half of all legal size fish being kept. Monitoring began in 2017 and continues in 2018.

    • Dusky Flathead was the 26th most commonly reported species in 2017
    • A total for 48 were reported in the 2017 Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Survey
    • An average length of 517mm was reported in 2017
    • Fishers reported an overall catch rate of 0.02 fish/fisher/day in 2017
    • 62% of fish reported in 2017 were kept
    • 79% of the total reported catch in 2017 was caught by locals
    • Peak period for Dusky Flathead catches in 2017 was during February


    Qld Fisheries Boat Ramp Surveys Monitoring Dashboard 


  • Sportfishers

    Dusky Flathead as a Sports Species

    Dusky Flathead are prized by Sportsfishers because they are an agressive species that respond to a wide variety of lures. Other species provide greater challenge, thus sportfishers tend to invest more time in the other species but when conditions are not ideal or a feed is desired, Flathead is an attractive option.

    • Local Sportfishers reported a catch rate of 1 fish/fisher/day in 2017 and in 2018, so far
    • The most commonly reported lengths in 2018 are fish in the 301-400mm size range 
    • The catch mix for 2018 comprises 75% undersize fish and 25% legal size fish


    A detailed snapshot of catch data by local Sportfishers is available:

    Local Sportfishers


  • Commercial Fishing

    Commercial Fishing Catch

    Queensland Fisheries monitors commercial catches up and down the coast. Commercial fishers are required to maintain logbooks of catch and report quarterly. The commercial catch of Dusky Flathead in Townsville (see Area Fished section) represented 0.2% share of the total statewide catch. Monitoring is ongoing in 2018.

    • Commercial Catch rate declined between 2016 and 2017 with 6.14 kg/fisher/day and 3.72 kg/fisher/day reported, respectively
    • Number of active licenses has ranged between 7 and 15 over the last decade with 7 licences active in 2017.
    • Commercial catch in 2017 was 0.16T, compared to 0.35T in 2016.


    Townsville Dusky Flathead Commercial Catch Dashboard


  • Monitoring

    Monitoring of Flathead

    Data for this assessment has been sourced from:

    • Bureau of Meteorology
    • Local Sportfishers
    • Queensland Fisheries


    Here are links to all the monitoring pages for Dusky Flathead:

  • Fishing Area

    Area Assessed

    Barramundi are caught throughout the Townsville region and fish are stocked in the Russell. Commercial catches are assessed on Grids I21,J21,K21,L21,L22.