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Controversial Killing of Big Dusky Flatheads

The death of any creature is a tragedy. The loss of life, no matter how big or small leaves behind a ripple effect that is felt by all. The tragedy is amplified when the life in question is a majestic creature like the dusky flathead.

The dusky flathead is one of the largest species of flathead catfish, reaching lengths of up to two meters. They are a top predator in their ecosystem and play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of the underwater world.

Their death at the hands of humans is a controversial topic that has been hotly debated for years. Some believe that they are a pest that needs to be eradicated, while others believe they should be protected and their populations managed.

The truth is, there is no easy answer. The dusky flathead is a complex creature with an important role in the ecosystem. Their death has far-reaching consequences that are not yet fully understood.

As we continue to learn more about these creatures and their place in the world, we must be careful in our decision-making. The future of the dusky flathead, and the underwater world they inhabit, depends on it.

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What Are the Big Dusky Flatheads?

The Big Dusky Flatheads are a large, powerful species of fish that is native to the waters of Australia. They are known for their aggressive nature and their razor-sharp teeth.

For many years, they were considered a nuisance species by anglers, as they would often steal bait and catch fish meant for humans.

However, their popularity has grown among anglers who appreciate their fighting spirit and their delicious taste in recent years.

Sadly, the future of the Big Dusky Flathead is now in jeopardy, as they are being targeted by a new generation of anglers who are intent on killing them for sport.

These so-called “trophy hunters” see the fish as nothing more than a challenge to be conquered, and they are willing to go to great lengths – and spend large sums of money – to achieve their goal.

In addition to being killed for sport, the Big Dusky Flathead is also being sold for its meat. Although it is not currently considered a threatened or endangered species, the indiscriminate killing of these fish could seriously impact their population in the future.

This is what Zac McKenzie, a seasoned spearfisherman and hunter out of Australia, said, “If you go to DPI stock status report, the overarching bodies report on the population since 1998, it’s been their direct words were remarkably stable. There it’s a stable fishery. It has not dropped in abundance.”

“They’re fishing them with Gill nets or mesh nets, and their reports on catches have been fairly consistent with the length composition of their catch. So small fish versus large fish has remained consistent since 2007. So, for the last 14 years, nothing’s changed with size. In the last 23 years, nothing’s changed with the catch.”

Spearfishing dusky flatheads
Source: Canva Pro

Hunting of the Big Dusky Flatheads

Hunting the big dusky flatheads has been controversial among hunters for many years. Some argue that killing these fish is necessary to protect the population, while others believe it is unnecessary and cruel.

The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this issue. It ultimately comes down to personal opinion.

Those who support the hunting of big dusky flatheads do so for two reasons. 

  • They believe that it is necessary to keep the population healthy. If too many fish are allowed to live, they argue, the population will become overcrowded and diseased. 
  • They claim that hunting these fish is humane to control the population. By killing them, they say, we are doing them a favor by preventing them from suffering in an overcrowded and unhealthy environment.

Those who oppose hunting big dusky flatheads do so for two reasons. These include:

  • They believe that the fish population is not at risk of becoming overcrowded or diseased. They argue that there is no need to kill them to keep the population healthy. 
  • They claim that hunting these fish is cruel and unnecessary. By killing them, they say, we are causing them unnecessary suffering.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they believe the hunting of big dusky flatheads is necessary.

There is no right or wrong answer, and both sides of the argument have valid points. Whatever you decide, make sure you are comfortable with your decision and confident in your reasoning.

Measures Put in Place To Protect Big Dusky Flatheads

Measures have been put in place to protect these fish, including limits on the number that can be caught and killed each year. Some people, however, still believe that more should be done to ensure the survival of these fish.

Some of the measures include:

  • A bag limit of ten
  • You cannot catch more than one fish that is over 70 centimeters
  • And you can only catch a minimum of a size 36

Zac McKenzie said, “They’ve got a bag limit of 10, and they’ve got a current restriction of no more than one fish over 70 centimeters, which is to protect the big breeders of the population and a minimum size of 36.”

The Growth of Big Dusky Flatheads

The females of the big dusky flatheads can lay up to 700 eggs per gram of body weight. The big dusky flatheads have an average life span of about 15-20 years. “The oldest fish they’ve ever found really is 15, 16 years old,” Zac McKenzie said.

The dusky flatheads can grow to about 1.8 meters (5.9 ft), although they are more typically around 0.9–1.2 meters (2.95–3.94 ft). Zac McKenzie said, “They’re big fish, so there was one they said 105-centimeter fish was caught.” The maximum recorded weight is 36 kilograms (79 lb).

Flatheads have a flat head with small eyes set high on the sides and a large mouth with the lower jaw protruding. The body is deep and compressed, with a long dorsal fin and a short anal fin. The pectoral fins are placed low on the sides. The tail is forked.

The female dusky flatheads tend to grow faster than the males and reach a larger size. A four-year-old female dusky flathead is typically around 60 cm (2.0 ft), while a four-year-old male is only 35cm.

Zac McKenzie said, “The difference is that the females grow bigger and faster. So, a four-year-old female is about 60 centimeters, and a four-year-old male is about 35. The males don’t grow as big. They only grow up to about 60. So, they’re fair. Like they just don’t get as big. They don’t need to. A lot of fish are like this. The females are bigger.”

Where Can You Find Big Dusky Flatheads

The dusky flathead is found in the coastal waters of southern Australia, from Shark Bay in Western Australia to Port Stephens in New South Wales. It is also found in Tasmania.

In Western Australia, the dusky flathead is found inshore in estuaries, bays, and coastal rivers. It is also found offshore, down to around 200 meters (660 ft).

In New South Wales and Tasmania, the dusky flathead is found inshore and offshore in estuaries, bays, harbors, coastal lakes, and on the open coast. It is also found in river systems.

The dusky flathead is a demersal fish, which means that it lives near the bottom of the water column. It is often found close to structures such as reefs, wrecks, rocks, and logs.

The Debate Over Killing Big Dusky Flatheads

Killing big flatheads has been a controversial topic among anglers for years. Some feel that killing such a beautiful and majestic fish is morally wrong. Others believe that it is necessary to protect the population of smaller flatheads.

There is no doubt that flatheads are one of the most popular gamefishes in Australia. They are highly sought after by both recreational and professional anglers.

In recent years, there has been an increase in big flatheads being caught. This has led to some anglers calling for a ban on killing these fish.

“There’s a big controversy about killing fish over that 70 centimeters. And there are a lot of catch and release fishermen calling for a slot limit. So instead of one over 70, it would be zero over 70,” Zac McKenzie said.

Why You Should Protect Flathead 

There are several reasons why big flatheads should be protected. They include:

They Are a Key Part of the Ecosystem 

Big flatheads play an important role in the food chain, and their removal can significantly impact the surrounding environment.

They Are Harder To Catch

Big flatheads are much harder to catch than smaller fish. This means that they are often left to breed, which can help replenish populations depleted by overfishing.

They Are Valuable

Big flatheads are a valuable resource for the future. They have the potential to grow to huge sizes, which could provide anglers with years of enjoyment.

Killing Big Flatheads is Simply Unnecessary

There is plenty of smaller fish that can be caught and eaten without impacting the population.

“The hypocrisy between a photo that goes up of 10 small ones and everyone it’s the same people they’re cheering. And they’re like good for you. Great feed, well done. And then you put out one photo of one big, and they’re like you are the devil, you’re the worst,” According to Zac McKenzie.

Why Flatheads Should Not Be protected

The killing of big dusky flatheads has been a controversial issue for many years. Some people believe that these fish should be protected, while others think they should be killed.

Here are some of the reasons why people think that flatheads should not be protected:

Flatheads Are a Non-Native Species 

They were introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, and they have since spread to many other parts of the country.

While they are not native to the area, they have been known to cause problems for native fish populations.

Flatheads Are Top Predators

They eat a lot of fish, and they can grow very large. Some people believe that they are a threat to native fish populations because they could eat all of the smaller fish.

To Control Their Population

Some people believe that killing flatheads is the only way to control their population. If they are not killed, they will continue to spread and cause problems for native fish populations.

Scientific Facts About the Big Dusky Flatheads

Some researchers believe that the big dusky flathead is a species of catfish, while others believe it is a sub-species of the common flathead. The truth is, there is no scientific consensus on what the big dusky flathead is.

The big dusky flathead is a large, dark-colored catfish found in the rivers and lakes of Australia. It is a popular target for anglers because of its size and fighting ability. Due to its striped appearance, the big dusky flathead is also known as the tiger flathead.

The fish can grow to be over two meters long and weigh over 15 kilograms. The big dusky flathead is a carnivore, and its diet consists mainly of other fish, crayfish, and insects.

The big dusky flathead is not considered endangered and is harvested commercially for its meat. However, the fish is protected in some areas of Australia, and catch limits are in place.

The flathead is a popular target for recreational anglers. The fish put up a good fight when hooked and can be caught using various methods, including bait fishing, lure fishing, and fly fishing.

The big dusky flathead is considered a good-eating fish, and its flesh is white and flaky. You can cook the fish in various ways, including grilled, baked, fried, and smoked.

Final Thoughts

The practice of killing big dusky flatheads has been controversial for many years. Some anglers believe that the fish are a valuable resource and should be managed carefully, while others believe they are nothing more than pests that need to be eradicated.

The truth lies somewhere in between, and it is up to each individual to decide whether or not to kill big dusky flatheads. Whatever your decision, be sure to do your research and consult with local experts before taking any action.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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