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    Oreos have few or no bones, rounded fillets and a light, delicate flavour. They hold together well under most cooking methods.

    Although oreos are much like the dories and can be cooked in a similar way, their skin is usually very tough and must be removed. If oreos are cooked with the skin on they are best either baked or poached.


    Catch limits

    Catch limit

    Fishing Mortality*


    Oreo (Smooth Cascade) Catch Limit

    150 tonnes

    For the 2024–25 Season

    G;Not subject to overfishingG;Not overfished

    Oreo (Smooth Other) Catch Limit

    90 tonnes

    For the 2024–25 Season


    Oreo Basket (Warty, Spiky, Rough and Black Oreodory) Catch Limit

    137 tonnes

    For the 2024–25 Season


    * Fishing mortality status relates to the level of fishing pressure on a stock – specifically, whether fishing mortality in the year being assessed is likely to result in the stock becoming overfished or prevent the stock from rebuilding from an overfished state. If fishing mortality exceeds either of these thresholds, a stock is considered to be subject to overfishing.

    ** Biomass status relates to how many fish there are – specifically, whether the biomass in the year being assessed is above the level at which the risk to the stock is considered to be unacceptable. The HSP defines this level as the limit reference point, below which the stock is considered to be overfished.

    Scientific name: Allocyttus nigerA. verrucosusNeocyttus rhomboidalis and other Neocyttus spp

    Family: Oreosomatinae

    Other names:

    • A. niger: Black oreo, black oreo dory, spikey dory
    • A. verrucosus: Warty oreo, warty dory
    • N. rhomboidalis: Spikey oreo

    Description: Oreos have deep, laterally compressed bodies, and moderate to large heads with large eyes. Their bodies vary in colour from bluish grey to greyish brown to greyish black depending on species. Black oreo have black fins. Warty oreo have two rows of wart-like scales on the belly. Spikey oreo have more distinct dorsal and anal fin spines than the other species.

    Size (length and weight):

    • Black: up to 47 cm in length and 1.5 kg
    • Warty: up to 42 cm in length and 2 kg
    • Spikey: up to 42 cm in length and 2 kg

    Females generally grow larger than males.

    Life span: At least 100 years for all species.

    Habitat: Oreos inhabit waters on continental slopes at depths of 200‑1600 metres. Adult oreos live close to the sea bed in deep water and form large aggregations over rough ground near pinnacles and canyons. Juveniles occur near the surface, often in association with krill, and tend to be dispersed over smooth ground.

    The recorded depth ranges for each species are:

    • Black: 500‑1300 metres
    • Warty: 300‑1600 metres
    • Spikey: 200‑1240 metres

    Prey: Salps, small fish, crustaceans and squid.

    Predators: Sharks.

    Reproduction: Oreos reach reproductive maturity at about 30 years of age depending on species. Females release eggs in a single spawning event each season. Females are estimated to produce about 62 000 eggs (black oreo) per spawning season. Oreo eggs float near the sea surface after fertilisation.

    Spawning season varies depending on species:

    • Black: spawning occurs in early summer
    • Warty: spawning occurs in late autumn
    • Spikey: spawning occurs in late spring
    Fishery found in Gear used Catch of this species is targeted or incidental
    Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Bottom trawl Targeted

    For assessment and management purposes oreos are treated as a single stock unit in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery although the majority of mixed oreo catches are spikey oreos.

    The Commonwealth catch of oreos are managed by quota, meaning that catch 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.

    Spikey oreo can also be caught in the High Seas area. Australian boats fishing for spikey oreo in this area are limited in how much they can catch and where they can fish. They must have a High Seas permit authorised by AFMA.

    Oreos are found off the southern coast of Australia in cool to cold deeper continental slope waters. They live and feed near the bottom of the sea floor, and in the water column, and are caught mainly below 600 metres.

    Oreo distribution map

    Bottom trawl is the main fishing method used to catch oreos.

    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.

    AFMA’s management of commercial trawl fisheries aims to ensure trawl fishing has the least impact possible on the environment.

    The impact of bottom trawl on bycatch species and habitats has been assessed as part of the ecological risk assessments. AFMA mitigates, or reduces, that impact through its ecological risk management strategy. The strategy details a number of management arrangements and strategies which aim to reduce the impact of fishing on the environment, including:

    • minimum mesh sizes for bottom trawls to reduce the catch of small and juvenile fish
    • mitigation devices to reduce interactions with threatened, endangered and protected species
    • and closing areas to fishing to protect vulnerable species and habitats.

    All bottom trawl boats are also required to have a seabird management plan in place to reduce interactions with seabirds during fishing.



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    Page last updated: 29/04/2024