Herring Cale

Herring cale
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit5


possession limit10


boat limit-

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Other names

rock cale, cocky fish, bird fish, weed whiting

Scientific name

Olisthops cyanomelas

Grows to

Up to


Identifying features

​Herring cale have a long, cylindrical body shape allowing them to swim in an eel-like manner. Males are dark blue to black with iridescent blue lines on the fins and snout. Females and juveniles are brown with darker brown mottling on the flanks. Their mouth is shaped for grazing seaweeds with fused teeth in both upper and lower jaws, giving a beak-like appearance.


Coastal reefs and rocky intertidal areas to 30 metres which contain their preferred diet of brown algae.

Fishing information

Herring cale are occasionally caught on hook and line while fishing for other reef species or taken in nets. Adults will return to their favoured feeding sites seasonally and males are believed to behave territorially during breeding season.


Although these fish produce two nice fillets relatively free of bones, the flavour is strongly weedy so any cooking methods that cover this taste are recommended.


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

What to report? arrow button

Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au