Pink ling is a popular species for home and commercial cooking because of the large, boned-out fillets and thick steaks, which hold their shape well in cooking.
They are lovely tasting fish with many uses, well suited to grilling, frying, barbecuing and baking.
Download our species guide on common species caught in AFMA managed fisheries.
FOR THE 2021-22 SEASON
Scientific name: Genypterus blacodes
Other names: Pink cusk-eel, kingclip, golden ling, ling, Australian rockling
Description: Pink ling have long eel-like bodies with very small scales. They are pinkish to orange, with irregular brown bands. Their bodies are covered in a thick mucous. Whisker-like pelvic fins are positioned below the eye. The dorsal, caudal and anal fins form a continuous fin.
Size (length and weight): Up to 1 metres in length and 20 kg. Commonly found at 50‑90 cm in length and 0.6‑4.5 kg.
Life span: Up to 30 years.
Habitat: Pink ling are a demersal species that inhabits the continental shelf and slope. They can be found at depths of 20‑1000 metres. Juveniles tend to occur in shallower waters than adults. Pink ling occur over a variety of substrates, from rock ground to soft sand and mud in which they burrow. Aside with some movement associated with spawning, pink ling are thought to be relatively sedentary.
Prey: Crustaceans such as royal red prawns, and a variety of fish including gemfish and blue grenadier.
Predators: Juveniles are preyed on by tiger flathead.
Reproduction: Pink ling reach reproductive maturity at 7-12 years of age. Spawning occurs over an extended period during late winter and spring. Pink ling are thought to be serial spawners, with egg batches being released in a floating gelatinous mass in each spawning event. Females produce about 333 000 eggs per spawning event depending on body size.
|Fishery found in||Gear used||Catch of this species is targeted or incidental|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – South East Trawl Sector||Bottom trawl||Targeted|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector||Bottom longline and dropline||Targeted|
|Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery – Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector||Bottom trawl||Incidental|
Management of catch
The Commonwealth catch of pink ling around the south east of Australia is managed by quota. Which means the catch of this fish by commercial fishers is restricted by weight.
Commercial fishermen are required to fill in records of their catches, during each fishing trip and when they land their catch in a port. This helps us keep records of how much is being caught.
AFMA decide on the amount that can be caught each year from expert advice and recommendations from fisheries managers, industry members, scientist and researchers.
The following Pink Ling stock assessments are available:
Pink ling is found in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern Western Australia however they are mainly caught in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery.
Fishing gear and environmental impacts
Fishers catch pink ling using trawl nets, longlines and droplines.
Sometimes, bottom trawling can catch unwanted species of fish (not the type of fish the net was supposed to catch). This is known as bycatch and it is monitored by on-board fishery observers who assess the environmental impact of the trawling.
Although it is not physically possible to trawl on reef structures, significant long-term damage can occur if sensitive habitat areas like corals, sponges and seagrass beds are trawled. To ensure these sensitive habitat areas are protected from trawling, management arrangements such as area closures are extensively used.
Demersal longline fishing causes very little damage to the seafloor and has only a very limited level of bycatch. Gear can become snagged on the bottom and get broken off, although this is not a common occurrence. Fish which have been caught are brought to the surface slowly, and are often alive when they reach the boat, which greatly increases their chance of survival when returned to the water.
Dropline fishing causes very little damage to the seafloor and has only a very limited level of bycatch. Gear can become snagged on the bottom and get broken off, although this is not a common occurrence.
AFMA carries out ecological risk assessments (ERA) for all of its major fisheries. The impact of bottom trawls on bycatch species and habitats has been assessed as part of the ERA. AFMA mitigates, or reduces, that impact through its ecological risk management (ERM) strategy. The ERM details a number of management arrangements and strategies which aim to reduce the impact of fishing on the environment, including minimum mesh sizes for otter board trawls to reduce the catch of small and juvenile fish, mitigation devices to reduce interactions with threatened, endangered and protected species and spatial closures to protect vulnerable species and habitats. Bycatch of other commercial fish species taken while fishing for pink ling must be covered by fishing quota.
AFMA reports annually on the rate of fishing gear interactions with protected species to the Department of the Environment.