Snapper

SnapperSnapper can be found out to the edge of the continental shelf, but are most common in inshore shelf waters. Juvenile snapper are found in most bays, inlets, larger estuaries and inshore coastal waters across Victoria.

In eastern Victoria, except for Corner Inlet-Nooramunga, adult snapper are predominantly found in coastal waters with juveniles dominant in estuaries. In central and western Victoria, adults and juveniles can be found in both coastal waters and large sheltered bays such as Port Phillip and Western Port.

Stock structure

Snapper in south eastern Australia are divided into two biological stocks[1]: the eastern and the western stocks.  Both of these stocks are found in Victorian waters but also extend into waters of other jurisdictions.  The eastern stock is widely distributed from southern Queensland into eastern Victoria, and the western stock extends from Wilsons Promontory to south eastern South Australia (including Port Phillip Bay and Western Port). Each stocks is affected by factors, such as fishing and management, within and beyond Victorian waters.

The national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks report 2014 assessed the status of snapper at the scale of these eastern and western stocks.  

Annual catch

The table below provides the catch from these snapper stocks by Victorian-licensed fishers. 

Sector

Victorian catch from western stock

Victorian catch from eastern stock

Commercial (2015/16 financial year)

1026 tonnes

1.2 tonnes

Recreational

≈ 600 tonnes
(from 2006/07 survey for Port Phillip Bay and Western Port)

≈ 95 tonnes
(95,000 fish of average weight 1kg: from 2000/01 national survey)

Indigenous (i.e. 2015/16 customary fishing permits)

0 tonnes

0 tonnes

Estimated total

≈ 1626 tonnes

≈ 97 tonnes

Stock status

The table below summarises and explains the status and management of snapper based on: 

  1. Stock status: classification of the biological status of the western and eastern stocks as at 2013, taken from the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014. These stocks are affected by fishing and management beyond Victorian waters.  
    Read more here about the SAFS assessment approach and classification system.
  2. Management settings: overview of current management arrangements in Victorian waters, including any recent changes that may affect stock status.
  3. Risk management category: The Victorian Fisheries Authority's overall, qualitative assessment of current risk to stock status in Victorian waters taking into account management arrangements, based on the best information currently available:

    Red Red - current management measures may not be sufficient to prevent stock depletion
    Amber Amber - current management measures expected to mitigate risk of stock depletion
    Green Green - stock status not of concern under current management

Stock status is based only on sustainability and is for the entire biological stock. Management settings and risk management category also consider the steps taken to address stock status, and only apply to the portion of the stock in Victorian waters. 

Management settings are also influenced by social and economic factors, and can take some time to affect a stock's status. This can depend on biological and environmental factors as well as the type and level of management changes implemented.

Western Australian stock

Stock status (2013 data)

Key management settings

Risk management category

Classification:

sustainable

Commercial harvest is predominantly managed by limited entry licensing and restrictions on size and gear, while recreational fishers are subject to size, gear and bag limits.

Read more here about the fishing methods and rules for snapper in Victoria.

Contact The Victorian Fisheries Authority for a copy of the latest Victorian snapper stock assessment report.

Green

Evidence:

Collectively, the following data provide evidence that this stock is sustainable. 

  • fishery dependent data: commercial and recreational catch, catch per unit of effort, age and length composition of catch
  • fishery independent data:pre-recruit survey catch rates in Port Phillip Bay

Available information does not indicate stock status concerns

Basis for stock status classification (from SAFS 2014)

Biomass assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the biomass of this stock was unlikely to be recruitment overfished

Fishing pressure assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the level of fishing pressure was unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished.

Eastern Australian stock

Stock status (2013 data)

Key management settings

Risk management category

Classification:

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Harvest under Victorian commercial and recreational licences is a small proportion of the total catch from this stock.

Commercial harvest is predominantly managed by limited entry licensing and restrictions on size and gear, while recreational fishers are subject to size, gear and bag limits.

Read more about the fishing methods and rules for snapper in Victoria.

Contact The Victorian Fisheries Authority for a copy of the latest Victorian snapper stock assessment report.

Green

Evidence:

Collectively, the following data provide evidence that this stock is undefined: 

While stock status assessment is constrained by data availability, FV is not aware of any information that indicates stock status concerns

Basis for stock status classification (from SAFS 2014)

Biomass assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that there was insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock. 

Fishing pressure assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that there was insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock..

Read more about the assessment of snapper stock status as at 2013 in the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014.