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- Saddletail Snapper is a tropical reef fish species caught in QLD, the NT and WA.
- In the NT, Saddletail Snapper are caught in two primary methods, trap and line, and bottom trawl.
- In 2020 saddletail snapper populations were assessed individually for the first time, which was a welcome change. There are no immediate concerns for saddletail populations, though there is some concern over the increase in fishing in recent years.
- Independent observer coverage of trawl fisheries in NT indicates some bycatch of endangered or protected sawfish, dolphins and hammerhead sharks, although it is unlikely that catch levels are contributing to further declines in these species.
- Though trap and line fishing methods present very low risk to habitat, the growing trawl fishery is of some concern for potential impacts to marine habitat.
- NT Offshore Snapper Fishery (2060t in 2019)
Saddletail snapper is a tropical species found across northern Australia but fished and managed by different jurisdictions. There are commercial fisheries in QLD, NT and WA.
The vast majority of the catch comes from the NT trawl fishery. While there are no immediate sustainability concerns for saddletail snapper stocks in the NT, the amount of fishing has increased in recent years, and there is considerable uncertainty over whether the amount of fishing is set at a sustainable level.
The amount of trawling occurring in the NT has expanded significantly since 2011, when trawling increasingly replaced trap and line fishing as the primary source of catch.
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. 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.
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 a priority and is being undertaken as part of current management actions.