key fish species in Port Phillip Bay

In week nine of our 11-week campaign to celebrate Victoria’s marine environment, we are exploring the fish of Port Phillip Bay and WesternPort, sharing insights from the Victorian State of the Bays (SotB) 2016 report. A high proportion of Victoria’s recreational fisheries catch is sourced from Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. The SotB report focuses on King George whiting, snapper and sand flathead as key species that indicate the health of fish in the bays and other ecological processes. These three species can tell us a lot about the state of the bays. 

These species indicate the health of fish in the bays more generally, as well as other processes (for example, seagrass health, snapper as an important predator etc.).

The focus is on juvenile fishes of the three indicator species because this information can help predict the size and future sustainability of the fish population. The health and numbers of juvenile fish of each species is linked to changes in environmental condition, habitat and adult breeding.

Life cycles

Despite their proximity to Victoria’s largest cities, Melbourne and Geelong, Port Phillip Bay and Western Port are quite healthy overall.

To measure the environmental health of the bays, the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability worked with marine scientists who identified 36 indicators across the six key topics you see on this website.

The indicators were chosen because they best ‘indicate’ whether that key topic is healthy.

Here's how the fish measured up in Port Phillip Bay
Key fish species in Port Phillip Bay  
King George whiting good
Snapper good
Sand flathead  poor

We invite you to head to our interactive State of the Bays website here  and access the SotB 2016 report – the next iteration of the report will include an expanded scope and be titled  the Victorian State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 report - currently in preparation by the #CommissionerforEnvironmentalSustainability.

Quick fact

Did you know that Victoria is one of only two jurisdictions in Australia (the other being the ACT) with an independent Commissioner charged with periodic State of the Environment reporting? Read about Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.


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