Southern GarfishCommon names: Garies, Gardies, Beakies.
Minimum size: 25cm, measured from upper jaw to end of tail.
Possession limit: 30. Possession limits apply everywhere, including the home.
Garfish are bluish green in colour along the back with a silver stripe bordered by a bluish stripe extending from behind the head to the tail. The belly is silver and fins may be translucent or tinged with green. Their body is long and rounded and covered with small scales.
They can grow to around 40cm in length and over 0.5kg in weight, at which size they are around 8 years old.
Spawning occurs in shallow water (2-5m) over an extended period from October to February but reaches a peak in December.
An adult garfish female can produce 10,000 eggs which when laid sink to the bottom and attach to drifting algae.
Growth is rapid following hatching with the fish reaching 22cm total length between 1-2 years. Maturity occurs between 2 and 3 years.
Southern garfish are a schooling fish found in sheltered bays and inshore coastal areas, occasionally in estuaries, and especially where seagrass meadows are established.
They tend to be near the surface at night, and on the bottom to midwater during the day.
They are excellent fighters when hooked on light gear, however they have small mouths and a delicate bite and most anglers find using a float produces more successful results. Burley is also recommended to ensure that a school of fish remains near the fisher.
Favoured baits include; prawns, sandworms, fish flesh and raw chicken. They will occasionally take a small fly.
These fish are excellent eating providing the time is taken to properly remove the numerous bones. The flesh is translucent when raw and cooks white. It is sweet to the taste.
They are a favoured fish for sashimi dishes.
Southern garfish are mainly herbivorous with seagrass the dominant food item. They also eat plankton, worms and small crustaceans.
Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe
Tasmania Online | Service Tasmania
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