Crimson Snapper

Latin name: Lutjanus erythropterus

Common names: Red Snapper, Small Mouth Nannygai, Tropical Snapper

  • Better Choice

Wild Caught


Key Facts

  • Crimson snapper is a tropical species caught in QLD and NT.
  • Crimson Snapper are caught in a multi-species hook and line fishery along the Great Barrier Reef Coast.
  • The QLD Crimson Snapper fishery appears healthy but may not be able to rebuild to an economically and environmentally optimum level under current levels of catch.
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park provides best practice protection for habitats and the wider marine environment the fishery operates within.
  • A range of reforms have been introduced to the fishery's management in recent years, many of which represent best international practice in coral reef fishery management.

More information

  • QLD Reef Line Fishery (14t in 2020, 11t in 2019)

Crimson Snapper is a tropical species found across northern Australia but fished and managed by different jurisdictions. The vast majority of the catch comes from the NT trawl fishery.

Crimson Snapper are caught as a secondary species in the multi-species Reef Line Fishery (which targets coral trout and red emperor).

A recent scientific assessment shows that Crimson Snapper stocks are fairly healthy, but may not be able to rebuild to an economically optimal and environmentally resilient target level set by managers under current catch levels.

Crimson Snapper populations are being effectively protected in extensive Great Barrier Marine Park zones closed to fishing.

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 six years, 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.