Coral Trout

Latin names: P. areolatus, P. laevis, P. maculatus, Plectropomus leopardus, V. albimarginata, Variola louti

  • Better Choice

Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • The name 'coral trout' refers to a number of species that are managed together as a single entity.
  • Coral trout are caught using hook and line throughout the Great Barrier Reef Coast.
  • Coral trout populations appear healthy, although scientific assessment is not done across the range of coral trout species that are caught.
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park provides best practice protection for habitats and the wider marine environment the fishery operates within.
  • A range of new innovations have been introduced to fishery management since the last GoodFish assessment in 2018, many of which represent best international practice in coral reef fishery management.

More information

  • QLD Reef Line Fishery (697t in 2020, 707t in 2019)

The name ‘coral trout’ refers to a number of different species that are managed together as a single entity. The distribution and biology of each species is complex, which makes it more difficult to assess whether individual stocks are healthy. The status of common coral trout is considered to be healthy, based on recent scientific assessment. The lack of understanding of the status of other species in the suite is of concern, given that this group is relatively long-lived and therefore less resilient to fishing pressure that is set too high.

The impacts of line fishing on the marine environment are minimal. In QLD, fishing takes place around the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which provides world-class science-based protection and monitoring of habitats and the wider ecosystem in the area of these fisheries. Recently established vessel monitoring systems are ensuring fishers are compliant with marine park regulations.

Serious climate-related environmental impacts in the forms of cyclone damage and coral bleaching events (where coral is under stress due to warm ocean waters) have occurred on the Great Barrier Reef in recent years. It is welcome that fishery and environmental managers are monitoring and managing these factors, with new measures designed to maintain species caught in the wider fishery at abundant and environmentally resilient population sizes.

It is likely the line fisheries in QLD pose minimal risk to most other species. Independent fishery observer programs are an important method of verifying protected species interactions, as well as other fishery impacts, such as the type and volume of discarded catch. Unfortunately the QLD Government closed the observer program for all QLD managed fisheries in 2012. In the intervening decade, there has been no independent scrutiny of the impact of the fishery on other species.

Despite this issue, a range of other reforms have been implemented across the fishery since the last GoodFish assessment, many of which represent international best practice and have contributed significantly to the ‘better choice’ ranking of the fishery in this assessment.