You are here

Home > About > News and media releases > ‘Labrador of the Sea’ re-discovered in marine sanctuary for the first time in ten years

News

‘Labrador of the Sea’ re-discovered in marine sanctuary for the first time in ten years

Thursday 2 January, 2014

A maturing Blue Groper has been discovered in Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary off Victoria’s southern coast — the first sighting in the area for more than ten years.

The protected fish was one of a number identified during Reef Watch Victoria’s Great Victorian Fish Count run by Parks Victoria staff and Friends of the Bluff in early December.

Parks Victoria Marine and Coasts Program Leader, Mark Rodrigue said that the observation was particularly exciting because the fish seen is likely to have been a Western Blue Groper (Achoerodus gouldii) that was only noted as a Victorian fish species in 2011.

“The closely related Eastern Blue Groper (A.viridis) is well known in Victoria, but the Western Blue Groper was only confirmed in this state recently. Both species are now protected in most states including Victoria,” he said.

“Blue Groper populations have been reduced around Australia and it is really exciting to find a species that has not been noted in the local area for more a decade.

“The fact that this species has now re-emerged in a marine protected area is an encouraging sign that without fishing pressure, these fish populations may be restored,” he said.

Mr Rodrigue said the Blue Groper sightings also highlight the value of ‘citizen science’.

“It is the observations of divers and snorkelers during events such as the fish count and other surveys that have improved awareness of these fish and their distribution.  This highlights the value of getting the community involved in monitoring and helping to care for our wonderfully rich marine areas and their inhabitants,” he said.

The large size and ‘friendly’ and inquisitive character of the Blue Groper has helped them to be described as ‘the Labradors of the sea’ and to endear them to the public. These charismatic fish are a delight for snorkelers and divers and play a key role as a high order predator in reef ecosystems.

Western Blue Groper are the largest carnivorous bony fish species found in southern Australia, can live for up to 70 years and grow up to 1.4 metres long with weights of up to 40 kilograms.


Media enquiries

Kate Milkins
0437 129 031

Parks Victoria media centre

Recent Stories

Chinese New Year at Twelve Apostles and Great Ocean Road

Wednesday 3 February, 2016
The stunning Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road is always a popular destination for International visitors to Australia, and…

Meet new Ranger Samantha in a park near you

Monday 1 February, 2016
This summer, why not visit one of the fantastic regional parks throughout Hepburn, Ballarat, and Pyrenees Shires, and say hello…

Parks Victoria leader awarded Fire Service Medal

Tuesday 26 January, 2016
Parks Victoria’s Prue Daley has been recognised at today’s Australia Day honours for her contribution to bushfire management and promotion…

Discover the Sale Wetlands with a Ranger

Monday 25 January, 2016
The local community is invited to join Seasonal Ranger, Candice Worsteling at the Sale Common Nature Reserve this Saturday, 30…

Meet Port Campbell’s new seasonal ranger and marine biologist

Monday 25 January, 2016
This summer, while visiting the spectacular Port Campbell region, say hello to seasonal ranger Natalie. Natalie is a qualified marine…

Community invited to have a say on Point Nepean

Monday 25 January, 2016
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville has released a discussion paper about the future plans for Point…

View all media releases