Scientific name: Epinephelus daemelii
Size: Max. length 2m
Habitat: Adult black cod are usually found in caves, gutters and beneath bommies on rocky reefs. They are territorial and often occupy a particular cave for life. Small juveniles are often found in coastal rock pools, and larger juveniles around rocky shores in estuaries.
Diet: Black cod are opportunistic carnivores, eating mainly other fish and crustaceans.
Appearance: They can change from one colour pattern to another in just a few seconds. They are usually black in estuaries and banded around clear water reefs. Black cod are apparently slow growing. Smaller fish are mostly females, but they generally change sex to become males at around 100-110 cm in length.
Guys, Please report any Black Cod sightings to Mel Brown. [email protected]
Industry & Investment NSW (I&I NSW) has released and will lead the implementation of a plan to assist in the recovery of the diminishing black cod population.
I&I NSW Director Fisheries Conservation and Aquaculture, Bill Talbot, said the species is listed as a vulnerable species under the NSW Fisheries Management Act.
“The black cod is found in warm temperate and subtropical parts of the south-western Pacific, including off south eastern Australia and Lord Howe Island,” Mr Talbot said.
“The species is slow-moving, curious and territorial, with divers reporting one 1.5 metre adult black cod residing at the same location at Seal Rocks in NSW for approximately 15 years.
“This territorial behavior combined with its slow growth has made black cod vulnerable to overfishing in the past and it is now unusual to find them in areas where they were once common.”
Mr Talbot said the plan outlines the key threats to the black cod population and a range of strategies to assist in the recovery of the species.
“Key threatening processes listed in the plan include line and spear fishing, as well as accidental hooking and loss of habitat,” Mr Talbot said.
“As part of the recovery plan I&I NSW will initiate and collaborate in research to get a better understanding of the biology and ecology of the black cod including their habitat requirements, movements and reproductive biology.
“Other actions identified in the plan include surveying the distribution and abundance of black cod in NSW, maximizing compliance and protecting their habitat at identified important sites.
“I&I NSW will coordinate and lead the implementation of the recovery plan, with support from relevant government agencies, universities, commercial and recreational fishers, scuba divers, councils and the community.”
It is illegal to catch and keep, buy, sell possess or harm black cod without a permit or other approval. Penalties for harming vulnerable species or their habitat range up to $55,000 and/or one year imprisonment.
“Adult black cod can grow up to two metres in length and at least 80 kilograms in weight,
however it is more common to see smaller fish up to one metre.
Media Contact: Alyssa Fitzgerald on (02) 6391 3785 or 0459 141 561