Mulloway are what could be called a prized catch and sit high on recreational fishers “must catch” bucket list. Port Stephens, both inside and outside the harbour, has a very healthy population of thumping mulloway up to a hefty 30kg.

These iconic fish swim in the western shallows of the port, throughout the Karuah River, along all our beaches and over the reefs from Birubi north to Broughton Island. State wide, however, we are told by research scientists from NSW Fisheries, that mulloway stocks are on the decline to the degree that they have been classified as a species that are over fished. New rules have been designed to address this issue. 

New Rules

Commercial fishers must now release all mulloway under 70cm. Those who have endorsements to catch mulloway are permitted to take 500kg daily. Recreational fishers, who were permitted to take two fish, are now limited to one mulloway over 70cm. 

Only time will tell if these new rules are adequate.

PS  Anyone who has fished over a shallow reef has caught a red rock cod. One of the ugliest fish in the sea, they are now much sought after for their delicate white flesh – poor man’s lobster.  

Cheers, Stinker.

Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke is a regular columnist for The Manning Community News. John can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on or send an email to with your information and questions. 

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