Black Fillet Project


Our findings

Preliminary findings...

A preliminary investigation was undertaken on the basis of a few samples from a flathead caught by recreational fishers in March 2010 and a few sampled in September 2011.
The flathead appeared to have melanin
deposits in skeletal muscles (around
individual muscle fibres), one individual had
some melanin associated with a blood vessel.

In 2015/16 two Honours projects, one in IMAS and one in Chemstry, looked into the possible causes of the melanisation.  Though there was no link to the presence of parasites in the fish there appeared to be an association with the heavy metal zinc, which is well known association in other animals. A manuscript from those projects is now being prepared.

In Tasmania, sand flathead (Platycephalus bassensis) is one of the most important finfish species with significant recreational value.
This species alone represents almost two thirds of the total recreational finfish catch numbers, with approximately 2 million fish caught annually in Tasmania.
Despite the importance and abundance of
these fish species in Tasmanian waters, there
is little information regarding the health
status of this species.
Because flathead are abundant
and exhibit strong site fidelity,
the species has been used as ‘sentinel’ species
to monitor pollution in estuaries, for
example in the Derwent and Tamar Estuaries in Tasmania and Port Philip Bay in Victoria. The high levels of pollutants in flathead from some Tasmanian estuaries has been recognised for many years.
If you've ever seen this in Sand Flathead or any other fish that you have caught around Tasmania
Let Us Know
fish icon at black fillet project
Research for the future of sustainable fishing in and around Tasmania