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NT, QLD, WA
- Goldband snapper is a tropical species caught in a number of different fisheries in NT, WA and QLD.
- The stock status of goldband snapper in eastern QLD is uncertain due to insufficient information on its abundance. This is a relatively long-lived species that is vulnerable to the effects of fishing.
- In WA, Goldband snapper stocks are assessed regularly and are either rebuilding or in sustainable condition.
- The amount of goldband snapper taken in the NT may be set too high, which may be putting the stock at risk of overfishing. As of early 2018, fishery managers are addressing this risk.
- Goldband snapper from QLD and WA are caught in fisheries that catch a number of other species of coral reef fish, mainly using line methods. Stocks of most other reef fish caught are also uncertain.
- There is no observer coverage in QLD or WA; independent observer coverage of trawl fisheries in NT indicates interactions with sawfish, dolphins and hammerhead sharks. It is unlikely that the catch level is contributing to further declines in the populations of these species.
- In the NT, the expansion of the trawl sector of the fishery since 2011 is of concern due to potential impacts on marine habitat and protected species. Habitat type is largely unknown; however the area trawled is small.
- Fishery reform in QLD and management actions in the NT should address issues of concern.
Note: A minor portion is trawl caught in a fishery based in WA’s Pilbara. Goldband snapper caught from this fishery would receive a red, ‘Say No’ rating due to ongoing dolphin deaths as bycatch.
- WA Northern Demersal Scalefish Fishery, Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery, Pilbara Line Fishery (551t 2012)
- NT Demersal Fishery, Timor Reef Fishery, Coastal Line Fishery (571t 2015)
- QLD Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery (53t 2014-15)
Goldband snapper is a tropical species, found across northern Australia. The biological stock structure of the species is complex as there are a number of discrete stocks throughout the species’ geographical range. Goldband snapper are fished in QLD, NT and WA, and managed separately by these jurisdictions. The status of the stocks along the east coast is undefined due to lack of available information. Fishery records of the amount caught over the past decade indicate there are no immediate concerns over goldband snapper populations. In WA, stocks are either increasing or are in a sustainable condition. Indications are that the main stock fished in NT is healthy.
Stock assessments conducted to date in QLD rely on fishery data only and independent stock assessments are required. Fishers were not required to record landings of individual species of tropical snapper until recently, so there are no long-term catch records to assess whether catches are at healthy levels. As goldband snapper are a long-lived species (they can live for around 30 years), fishing needs to be set at careful levels to ensure that overfishing is not occurring. There are concerns over the level of fishing effort happening in the NT, and impacts on goldband snapper stocks. The amount of goldband snapper currently fished may be too high for the stock to support, which could lead to the stock becoming overfished.
The amount of trawling occurring in the NT has expanded significantly since 2011, when trawling increasingly replaced trap and line fishing as the prefered method. In addition, a trial has been underway in the Timor Sea for three years with no reporting on the outcomes of the trial in early 2018. Concerns over the high fishing effort on goldband snappers have been noted by fisheries managers, and it is expected that management actions will come into force in 2018 that are likely to address these issues.
Goldband snapper caught in QLD and WA fisheries are primarily fished using line and trap methods. The fisheries also catches a number of other species of coral reef fish but most of these fish stocks are uncertain because of a lack of reliable biological data and information on the effects of 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 extensive habitat protection. The habitat trawled in the NT is poorly understood; currently the trawled area represents less than 5% of the total area available. Improved habitat mapping is urgently needed and is being considered as part of current management actions.
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 has closed the observer program for all QLD managed fisheries in 2012. In the intervening six years, there has been no independent on-vessel monitoring of the impact of the fishery. It is likely the line fisheries in QLD pose minimal risk to marine mammals, although there are some concerns over the bycatch of sharks. There is no observer program in operation in the WA fishery.
Independent observer coverage of trawl fisheries in NT indicates interactions with sawfish, dolphins and hammerhead sharks, although it is unlikely the catch level is contributing to further declines in the populations of these species.
It is expected that the broad fisheries reforms currently underway in QLD will address a number of issues in the management of QLD fisheries in the future, and actions underway in the NT should address outstanding issues in the trawl fisheries. However, if identified issues remain outstanding at the next assessment for Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, it is likely that this species will be downgraded to a red ‘Say No’ listing.
Some goldband snapper are caught in a trawl fishery that operates in the Pilbara. This fishery has considerable issues with the bycatch of dolphins in fishing nets, and is not considered in this assessment. Goldband snappers caught in the trawl fishery would receive a Red, ‘Say No’ rating; however, the majority of goldband snappers are caught using trap and line methods.