|Importance||commercial||Ref.||Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993|
|Aquaculture||never/rarely||Ref.||Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993|
|Regulations||restricted||Ref.||Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993|
|Live export||live food|
|Abundance||common (usually seen)||Ref.||Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993|
Distributed from about Geraldton to about the Wessel Islands in the Northern Territory.
Commercial fishery: In Australian waters, rock cod are caught by demersal otter trawling, traps, droplines and handlines. In general however, they are not targeted in these fisheries, instead forming a major bycatch of emperor (Lethrinidae) and sea perch (Lutjanidae) fisheries. The highest recorded catches of rock cod in domestic fisheries up to 1989-90, were 39 t (Queensland, 1975-76), 14 t (Northern Territory, 1986-87) and 287 t (Western Australia, 1989-90).
In 1993, the highest catches of rock cod were made by Australian stern trawlers on the North West Shelf. Larger rock cod were less abundant in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Arafura Sea.
On the North West Shelf, demersal trap and line fishing occurs mainly in the Exmouth to Point Samson (114°-117° E) and Broome areas. Rankin's rock cod is the dominant rock cod in the fishery, comprising about 65% of the serranid catch.
In the Northern Territory, demersal trap, handline and dropline fishing is carried out mainly in the 'Timor Box' (a region between 127.5°E and 131°E). In 1991, serranids comprised 22% of the total catch from the Timor Box. Fish trapping is confined to areas with hard sea floor which are not worked by demersal trawlers. The main serranid caught in the Northern Territory trap and dropline fishery is yellow-spotted rock cod (E. areolatus). Rankin's rock cod are also caught.
In Queensland, rock cod are a component of the East Coast Reef Line Fishery. They are caught usually with handlines in shallower water and with droplines in deeper water. The main species caught are estuary rock cod, wire-netting cod (E. merra) and Maori cod (E. undulatostriatus). There is no information on the quantity of each species caught in Queensland.
Rock cod also form a small part of the bycatch from demersal otter trawling in Queensland. Throughout northern Australia they are an incidental catch in bottom set longlines and gillnets.
Smaller rock cod are marketed whole or gilled and gutted, either frozen or fresh chilled. Larger rock cod are sold whole but more often as fillets or cutlets.
Recreational fishery: Recreational fisheries target large and small rock cod (eg Chinaman rock cod, E. rivulatus, and black-tipped rock cod, E. fasciatus) especially in inshore areas. They use lures, live bait or cut fish, jigs and deep-running troll lures. Rock cod can be hooked on single and double-handed casting tackle and jigs, or (for larger fish) heavy handlines.
According to records of the Australian Underwater Federation the largest rock cod (possibly E. lanceolatus) caught weighed 233,000 g and was from southern Queensland.
Museum: Western Australia, BMNH 18188.8.131.52; WAM P.23223, P.24890, P.25354, P.2847-001 (Holotype of E. rankini), P.13949. CSIRO CA898, from North West Cape to Darwin (Ref. 5978). Also Ref. 4787, 33390, 090102, 89707.
|States/Provinces||Northern Territory (native), Western Australia (native)|