Learn why fisheries scientists dissect fish and how extracting the ear bones of bony fish provides information that is used to assess the health of fish stocks.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is responsible for the sustainable management of Western Australia’s fisheries, to ensure that we have fish for the future. In this activity, students learn how fish dissections provide valuable research information that contributes to making informed management decisions.

Students will each complete their own fish dissection, as well as collecting and recording information about the general biology of their fish. They will extract the ear bones, or otoliths, from their fish, learn how to identify the sex of their fish and find out how research on fish gonads is vital in setting recreational fishing rules and regulations.

Note: This activity has a maximum of 60 students per day.

Cost: $8.00 per student

Did you know… fish have calcium carbonate structures in their heads – called ‘otoliths’ – that contain growth rings, rather like those found in the trunks of trees. These rings are laid down at regular intervals so, by counting the rings, the age of a fish can be determined.