Argyrosomus Japonicus
Mulloway - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Argyrosomus Japonicus
Other names Jewfish, Butterfish, Japanese Meagre, Jew, Jewie , Kingfish, River Kingfish, School Jew, Silver Jew, Silver Jewfish, Soapy, Southern Meagre
Size Up to 1.5 m (5 ft)
Weight Up to 60 kg (132 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters, estuaries, river mouths & beaches amongst rocky & sandy areas
Depth Range 5 - 50 m (164 ft)
Mulloway Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Mulloway, also known as Jewfish, are a prized and highly sought-after fish species in Australia, found along the southern coastline from Western Australia to New South Wales and parts of southern Queensland.
  • They have an elongated, silver-grey body that is slightly compressed and can grow up to 1.5 meters long and weigh up to 60 kilograms, making them one of the largest estuarine fish species in Australia.
  • Mulloway or jewfish are opportunistic predators and feed on a variety of prey. In estuarine environments, Mulloway primarily feed on fish such as mullet, whiting, bream, and herring, as well as crustaceans such as crabs and prawns. In deeper offshore waters, they feed on a wider range of prey, including squid, octopus, and various species of fish such as salmon, trevally, and snapper.
  • Mulloway have a unique way of hunting their prey called “mouth fishing.” They use their large, expandable mouth to create a vacuum that sucks in unsuspecting prey.
  • Mulloway are protandrous hermaphrodites, meaning they are born as males but can change into females later in life. They reach sexual maturity at around 5-6 years of age.
  • They typically spawn in the winter months from May to September, with females releasing eggs into the water column, and males fertilising them externally. Their larvae are pelagic, and they move downstream to estuaries and the ocean, where they mature.
  • Estimates of lifespan are up to 30 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational & Commercial Fishing

Mulloway are considered a challenging species to catch, making them a popular target for recreational fishers. They are known for their strong fighting ability and can be caught using a range of fishing methods, including bait and lure fishing. They are also commercially fished using gill nets or by hook and line, and are primarily sold to fish markets and restaurants.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Sciaenidae

Genus: Argyrosomus

Species: Argyrosomus Japonicus

Conservation Status

The conservation status of Mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus) in Australia is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, local populations of Mulloway may be threatened due to overfishing and habitat loss.

Fish Taste Quality

Mulloway (Jewfish) are a highly prizedfish in Australia, with a firm, white flesh that is moist and flavourful. Their flesh has a mild, sweet flavour that is often compared to that of snapper or barramundi.

Taste Rating: 4/5

How to catch

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Patternoster Rig, Running Sinker Rig, Artificial Rig

Bait: Fresh cut flesh baits, Lures, Octopus, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Soft plastics, Live minnow

Technique: Keep bait on the bottom, Keep bait close to the reef/structure, Cast bait/jig/lure near schooling fish

Popularity: Highly targeted

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