Fisheries Research Articles

Biological characteristics and mortality of western butterfish (Pentapodus vitta), an abundant bycatch species of prawn trawling and recreational fishing in a large subtropical embayment

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

Fishery Bulletin




Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


The western butterfish (Pentapodus vitta) is numerous in the bycatch of prawn trawling and recreational fishing in Shark Bay, Western Australia. We have thus determined crucial aspects of its biological characteristics and the potential impact of fishing on its abundance within this large subtropical marine embayment. Although both sexes attained a maximum age of 8 years, males grow more rapidly and to a larger size. Maturity is attained at the end of the first year of life and spawning occurs between October and January. The use of a Bayesian approach to combine independent estimates for total mortality, Z, and natural mortality, M, yielded slightly higher point estimates for Z than M. This result indicates that P. vitta is lightly impacted by fishing. It is relevant that, potentially, the individuals can spawn twice before recruitment into the fishery and that 73% of recreationally caught individuals are returned live to the water.