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- A number of different stocks of snapper are caught in WA.
- Some concern has been noted around the stock status of snapper in WA, although stocks are not considered to be overfished.
- Upcoming stock assessments in WA should provide some clarity and enable management actions to be set appropriately to protect the stocks.
- If stocks continue to decline to an overfished status, it is unlikely that an amber rating in WA could be supported in the future.
- While line fishing is unlikely to significantly impact marine wildlife, there are concerns over bycatch of Australian sea lions in nets in WA. Gillnet exclusion zones around breeding colonies are due to be implemented mid-2018.
- WA West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource, Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Resource, South Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource (313t in 2015)
Snapper is a key target of commercial and recreational fisheries around Australia. The recreational catch in some states in Australia is a significant portion of the overall catch of snapper, and can equal or exceed commercial landings.
While the distributions of snapper stocks around WA remains complex, there has been significant investment in assessing the health of multiple different stocks, with assessment reports due in in both jurisdictions that should be used to inform better stock-based management.
Snapper are caught in a number of fisheries in WA, where different stocks are targeted. The information used to inform stock assessments is robust. In one area, high fishing activity was previously noted as of concern by fishery managers; management measures put in place appear to be supporting recovery of the stock, and upcoming fishery assessment reports should provide more clarity around the health of the stock. Concern was noted in the other parts of WA, with snapper stocks at some risk from fishing levels. Management controls should be able to ensure these stocks do not become depleted. It is not thought that WA stocks are overfished at this point.
Should declines in the status of stocks in WA continue to be reported, this would indicate that stocks are becoming overfished. In this event, it is unlikely that an amber rating could be supported in the future.
Snapper are predominantly caught using lines and demersal gillnet methods. While line fishing poses minimal risks to endangered animals, gillnet fishing can be a high risk to marine wildlife, including Australian sea lions and great white sharks. Gillnet exclusion zones around sea lion breeding colonies are set to be implemented by mid-2018. There is no observer program in operation in the WA fishery, and issues with the reliability of reporting in gillnet fishery logbooks have arisen in the past.