King George whiting

King George whitingDistribution

King George whiting are found in bays, estuaries and inshore coastal areas throughout Victoria. Juveniles are abundant in shallow seagrass beds, whereas adults are common on open sandy areas within seagrass and reef habitat and in deeper channels and gutters.

Stock structure

King George whiting in Victoria are part of one biological stock that extends into south eastern South Australian waters. 

Stock status of King George whiting was classified at the Victorian state scale in the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014. This classification was based on the status of populations in the main Victorian fishing areas of Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay and Corner Inlet.

Annual catch


Estimated Victorian catch

Commercial (2015/16 fishing year)

204 tonnes

Recreational (2006/7 estimate)

 156 tonnes

Indigenous (i.e. 2015/16 customary fishing permits)

0 tonnes

Estimated total

≈ 360 tonnes

Stock status

The table below summarises and explains the status and management of King George whiting based on: 

  1. Stock status: classification of the biological status of King George whiting in Victoria as at 2013, taken from the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014. Read more here about the SAFS assessment approach and classification system.
  2. Management settings: overview of current management arrangements in Victorian waters, including any recent changes that may affect stock status.
  3. Risk management category: The Victorian Fisheries Authority's overall, qualitative assessment of current risk to stock status in Victorian waters taking into account management arrangements, based on the best information currently available:

    Red Red - current management measures may not be sufficient to prevent stock depletion
    Amber Amber - current management measures expected to mitigate risk of stock depletion
    Green Green - stock status not of concern under current management

The stock status classification, management settings and risk management category for King George whiting are all at the scale of Victorian waters. Stock status is based only on sustainability. Management settings and risk management category also consider the steps taken to address stock status. 

Management settings are also influenced by social and economic factors, and can take some time to affect a stock's status. This can depend on biological and environmental factors as well as the type and level of management changes implemented. 

Stock status (2013 data)

Key management settings

Risk management category



Commercial harvest is predominantly managed by limited entry licensing, restrictions on size and gear and by limited restrictions on fishing times and locations. Recreational fishers are subject to size, gear and bag limits

The commercial catch of King George whiting in Port Phillip Bay will be reduced by the cessation of commercial netting.

Read more about the fishing methods and rules for King George whiting in Victoria.



Collectively, the following data provide evidence that this stock is sustainable. 

  • fishery dependent data: commercial and recreational catch, catch per unit of effort, age and length composition of the catch
  • fishery independent data: pre-recruit survey catch rates in Port Phillip Bay
  • species biology: adults live in coastal waters and are subject to very low fishing pressure

Stock status considered to be sustainable under current management

Basis for stock status classification (from SAFS 2014)

Biomass assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the biomass of the stock was unlikely to be recruitment overfished

Fishing pressure assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the level of fishing pressure at that time was unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished

Read more here about the assessment of King George whiting stock status as at 2013 in the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014.