Project number: 1999-138
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $322,832.01
Organisation: Agriculture Victoria
Project start/end date: 26 Jun 1999 - 18 Jun 2004


The 1998 survey indicated that the biomass of C. mosaicus in Port Phillip Bay was not large enough to supply the 1500 tonnes wet weight required by the Australian Company. Biomass estimates for some strata were as little as 0.6% of the estimates during 1997 (Hudson and Walker 1998). However, anecdotal reports indicated that large aggregations of C. mosaicus occurred in Corner Inlet during 1998 and a survey during March 1999 indicates a very high biomass present during 1999. This highlights the high inter-annual variability in abundance of jellyfish and need for flexibility to harvest jellyfish from different regions, depending on size and distribution of the stocks. Stock Assessments are needed for the various regions before harvesting begins. This information is essential to assure investors of the viability of the resource.

The 1997, 1998 and 1999 surveys indicate that new sampling methods are required for providing more efficient field survey work and more robust estimates of abundance. The current method has the major limitations that the setting of sampling strata boundaries and counting of jellyfish depend on being able to see the jellyfish in the water column from the surface. Because the vertical distribution of C. mosaicus varies with weather condition and time of day (Hudson et al. 1997), there is a need to develop a sampling unit where sampling depth within the water column can be carefully controlled.

To provide for more reliable biomass estimates and for development of harvest strategies, there is a need for morphological, fecundity and size at maturity data of C. mosaicus. Also, there is a need to establish whether or not C. mosaicus harvested from Port Phillip Bay meet Australian national health standards. Other fish and shellfish harvested from Port Phillip Bay have been shown to be contaminated with various toxicants (Phillips 1976, Walker 1982, Walker et al. 1982, Fabris et al. 1995, Wu and Groves 1995, Walker et al. 1998). There is a need to test C. mosaicus for heavy metals, organochlorines, hydrocarbons and tributyltins in localities in Port Phillip Bay where these contaminants are known to occur.

Funding for the jellyfish research during 1997, 1998 and 1999 is from several sources. The 1997 survey and the harvesting, processing and export trials were funded by the National Seafood Centre ($15,000), Fisheries Victoria ($10,000), Business Victoria ($10,000), and Beijian Gaizhou Aquatic Products Industrial Corporation ($15,000), and the 1998 surveys of Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bay were funded by Business Victoria ($10,000). The 1999 surveys of Port Phillip Bay, Westernport Bay and Corner Inlet are being funded by FRDC ($15,000) and Fisheries Victoria ($10,000).

This FRDC application for funds covers development of a 'jellyfish sampling unit' during 1999, and survey and collection of biological samples in Port Phillip Bay, Westernport Bay and Corner Inlet during 2000, 2001 and 2002. It is proposed that Fisheries Victoria meet the cost of the chemical laboratory analyses ($97,500) and FRDC meet the other costs ($322,832).

Anon. (1997). Fishery Statistics- catches and landings. FAO Yearbook 80 1995.
Fabris, G. J., Monahan, C.A., Werner, G. F., and Theodoropoulos, T.(1995). Impact of Shipping and Dredging on Toxicants in Port Phillip Bay. CSIRO Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study. 30 pp.

Hudson, R. J., Bridge, N. F., and Walker, T. I. (1997). Feasibility Study for Development of a Commercial Jellyfish Fishery in Victoria. Final Report to Fisheries Research Development Corporation, 40pp (Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute: Queenscliff).

Hudson, R.J.,and Walker, T.I. (1998). Distribution and abundance of the jellyfish Catostylus mosaicus in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. Report to Business Victoria and Fisheries Victoria, 16pp (Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute: Queenscliff).

Kingsford, M. J., and Gillanders, B. M. (1995). Fishery and research priorities for Catostylus mosaicus Report for the Australian Nature Conservation Agency. 25 pp. (University of Sydney: Sydney).

Phillips, D. J. H. (1976). The common mussel Mytilus edulis as an indicator of pollution by zinc, cadmium, lead and copper. I. Relationships of metals in the mussel to those discharged by industry. Marine Biology 38, 71-80

Walker, T. I. (1982). Effects of Length and Locality on the Mercury Content of Blacklip Abalone, Blue Mussel Sand Flathead and Long nose Flathead from Port Phillip Bay, Victoria. Australian Journal Marine and Freshwater Research. 33, 553-560.

Walker, T. I., Glover, J. W. and Powell, D. G. M. (1982). Effect of Length Locality and Tissue Type on Mercury and Cadmium content of the Commercial scallop Pecten alba Tate from Port Phillip Bay, Victoria. Australian Journal Marine and Freshwater Research. 33, 547-552.

Walker, T. I., Fabris, G. J., Knuckey, I. A., Hudson, R. J. and Sporcic, M. I. (1998). Webb Dock Marine Ecology Study. Final Report to Melbourne Port Corporation. 99 pp. (Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute: Queenscliff).

Wu, R., and Groves, A. (1995). Cadmium and lead in tissues of scallops from Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Water Science Technology 31, 479-483


1. Develop a sampling unit for efficient survey of jellyfish distribution and abundance.
2. Estimate spatial and temporal variation in abundance of C. mosaicus in Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and Corner Inlet during 2000, 2001 and 2002.
3. Determine relationships between total weight, bell weight, discard (oral arms) weight and diameter of C. mosaicus for several localities and the seasonality of these relationships.
4. Test whether the bells of C. mosaicus meet national health standards for cadmium, mercury, zinc, lead and arsenic &amp
test for the effects of bell size and locality on concentration of these heavy metals in C. mosaicus.
5. Test whether the bells of C. mosaicus meet national health standards for organochlorides, hydrocarbons and tributyltins in Port Phillip Bay.
6. Provide annual fishery assessment reports which update commercial catch and effort.

Final report

ISBN: 1-74146-112-X
Author: Noel Coleman

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