- Say No
- Snapper is a key target in commercial and recreational fisheries around Australia and New Zealand.
- The snapper stock shared by NSW and QLD fisheries is in an overfished condition
- Snapper are mainly caught using lines and fish traps in NSW, which have a limited impact on both endangered wildlife and marine habitats.
- Marine parks and closures throughout the fishery also provide a degree of protection in some areas of the fishery. At the time of writing, the NSW Government was considering opening highly protected marine parks to fishing.
- NSW Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (193t in 2019/20)
Snapper are found throughout subtropical and temperate Australian coastal and oceanic waters up to depths of 250m, and are most often caught on the inner shelf or in large coastal gulfs and bays. They are not endemic, being also found in New Zealand and Japanese waters. Snapper are caught in a broad range of fishery jurisdictions, in all States except Tasmanian and NT waters.
Snapper is a key target of commercial and recreational fisheries in Australia and New Zealand. 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.
A single stock of snapper exists along the eastern seaboard of Australia, with the stock fished by both QLD and NSW using different management arrangements. QLD fishery statistics indicate concerns over the status of this stock, including declining catch rates (a measure of how easy it is to catch fish), low presence of young snapper entering into the population and few mature fish. Snapper are likely to be ‘growth overfished’, which means the larger fish have been fished out and juvenile fish are now being caught. Catching fish at too small a size means they are not able to reproduce and support the stock over the long-term.
Snapper populations in NSW are considered sustainable by fishery managers, but only because of a risky interpretation of available data. GoodFish considers that the NSW-managed part of the eastern Australian population is likely to be in an overfished condition.
It remains unclear as to whether management actions introduced have supported any recovery of this long-lived fish species, which can live up to 40 years.
Snapper are predominantly caught using line and trap methods in NSW. These fishing methods have a low impact on endangered wildlife and marine habitats, and generally result in low quantities of other marine species. Independent observation is necessary in both fisheries to support log-book reporting by fishers.
The fishery is subject to a range of legislation, including Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO) accreditation. At the time of this assessment AMCS had found the NSW Department of Primary Industries was non compliant with its WTO conditions in relation to bycatch management in this fishery, impacting the ranking of this assessment overall.