The hooking of several massive broadbill swordfish off Tasmania’s east coast could attract game fishers from around the world.
A 180-kilogram swordfish tagged by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) was one of several recent big catches.
Fisherman Leo Miller has caught several of the big swordfish recently.
“As an amateur fisherman that’s the pinnacle, that’s what we all strive for, it’s an incredible feeling,” he said.
“We were surprised that we were able to replicate our success as readily as we did,” he said.
The recent swordfish haul by Team Choonachasa, a group of fishers dedicated to investigating the best swordfishing methods, caught the attention of IMAS researcher, Sean Tracey.
“It’s a real first for Australia to take off with such consistency. They’ve been caught randomly before… but never in such a targeted way,” he said.
Mr Tracey wants to know whether the swordfish can be targeted sustainably by recreational fishers.
He said he hoped the use of satellite tags would reveal if the fishing was sustainable.
“We could track whether the fish are staying down off Tasmania or in fact they are moving back up the east coast with the main population,” he said.
Unfortunately, Mr Tracey believed the 180-kilogram broadbill he tagged for IMAS died after being released.
Swordfishing brings in the tourist dollars
The head of the Game Fishing Association of Australia, Brett Cleary, said broadbill swordfishing has brought big money to Florida, Mexico and New Zealand.
Mr Cleary said people could also be drawn to Tasmanian east coast.
“I think this fishery has the potential to bring people definitely from other states of Australia, but even from around the world,” he said.
“Port Stephens in New South Wales has a $20 million-a-year marlin fishery, (and) this type of fishery in Tasmania has that type of potential.”
IMAS are hoping to attach more satellite tags early next year.