Argyrosomus japonicus

Argyrosomus japonicus is a silvery to bronze-green colored fish, a member of the family Sciaenidae, which may grow up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in length. It is known as mulloway or jewfish on the east coast of Australia, butterfish in South Australia, kingfish or river kingfish in Western Australia,[1] and dusky/squaretail kob, Dusky Salmon, Salmon or kabeljou in South Africa. The name jewfish refers to its large otoliths, which are prized as "jewels" by some fishers.[citation needed]

Argyrosomus japonicus.JPG
Scientific classification
A. japonicus
Binomial name
Argyrosomus japonicus


Argyrosomus japonicus is a large, slender fish which can grow to 2 m (6 ft 7 in). It has a copper-colored head and is silvery with a bronze-green dorsal surface and paler belly. It has a row of distinctive white spots running along the lateral line. The caudal fin is angular in juveniles but becomes more rounded in larger fish.[2]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Argyrosomus japonicus has an Indo-Pacific distribution occurring in coastal waters surrounding Australia, Africa, India, Pakistan, China and Japan. Adults are gregarious and are found over soft bottoms mainly beyond the surf zone, occasionally going inshore. Juveniles are exclusively found in shallow water and sometimes move into estuaries.[3]

Mulloway/Jewfish in AustraliaEdit

As explained above Argyrosomus japonicus, are commonly known by different names across Australia, but most Australians refer to them as Mulloway or Jewfish. They are a prized catch when it comes to fishing and are notoriously difficult to target. They are even fondly referred to as The Grey Ghosts of the Estuaries. According to the Department of Primary Issues for New South Wales:

"Mulloway have been classified as Overfished in NSW since 2004/05 and a Recovery Program (RP) to assist the stock to rebuild was implemented on the 1st November, 2013."

The above recovery plan introduced changes to the "bag limits' on fish for both Recreational and Commercial fishing.

Later in 2018, NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair commented:

"Despite efforts by fishers, a recent scientific review showed Mulloway are still overfished. In order for stocks to recover, the review recommended that more action needed to be taken.[4]

Recreational Bag limits were further reduced to just one fish over 70cm.

At the same time that these new restrictions were introduced the sustainability and ethics of NSW's commercial fishing industry was being called into question after an alleged case of a commercial fisherman using a drone to target a school of Mulloway [5]


Mulloway or Jewfish can be found from the brackish water up the top of estuaries down to the mouths, bays, rocks and beaches all the way out to offshore reefs. They can even be found in urban areas. They can be found under deep water marinas, boat moorings, bridges and jetties even shelving rocks and caves. [6]They are accessible to the majority of Australian Recreational Anglers.


  1. ^ "What's in a Name? (Bray & Gomon, 2019)". Fishes of Australia. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  2. ^ "Mulloway, Argyrosomus japonicus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844)". Australian Museum. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  3. ^ "Argyrosomus japonicus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1843): Japanese meagre". FishBase. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  4. ^ "New rules to help Mulloway recovery". 2018-08-06. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  5. ^ "Eden beach hauler reportedly kills 60 broodstock mulloway - Fishing World". Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  6. ^ "How to catch Sydney Harbour daytime Jewfish". Fishabout Fishing Charters Sydney Harbour With Craig McGill. 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2020-08-22.