Goldband Snapper

Pristipomoides multidens

  • Julie Martin (Department of Primary Industry and Resources, Northern Territory)
  • Corey Wakefield (Department of Fisheries, Western Australia)
  • Malcolm Keag (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Stephen Newman (Department of Fisheries, Western Australia)

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Northern Territory Northern Australia DF,CLF,TRF Sustainable Catch, CPUE, SRA
Demersal Fishery, Coastal Line Fishery, Timor Reef Fishery (NT)
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Stock Structure

Goldband Snapper is widely distributed throughout northern Australia and the tropical Indo–West Pacific. Analysis of otolith stable isotopes indicates separate biological stocks in each of the three management regions in Western Australia (Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne), and across northern Australia1. Separate biological stocks exist between Australia and Indonesia2. The existence of multiple biological stocks across northern Australia and Western Australia suggests that several biological stocks may also be present on the east coast, although this remains to be determined. Because biological stock delineation is known for this species in the Northern Territory (including the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland) and Western Australia, stock status is reported at the level of individual biological stocks. On the east coast of Queensland, in the absence of information on biological stock boundaries, status is reported at the level of the East coast (Queensland) management unit.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the biological stock level—Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne (Western Australia) and Northern Australia; and at the management unit level—East Cost (Queensland).

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Stock Status

Northern Australia

The Northern Australian Goldband Snapper biological stock was assessed in 2011 and 2013 using a stochastic stock reduction analysis (SRA) model5,6. Egg production was estimated to be around 65 per cent of that prior to the start of the fishery, well above conventional fisheries target levels. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment overfished.

Around 90 per cent of the catch is from the Timor Sea and western Arafura Sea. Catch from the Queensland Gulf of Carpentaria is relatively low, but not currently constrained by quota. The Northern Territory total allowable commercial catch for Goldband Snapper is 1300 t, 900 t in the Timor Reef Fishery and 400 t in the Demersal Fishery. In the Northern Territory, most Goldband Snapper has been harvested using trap and line gear. Line fishing rarely occurs now and an additional reduction in trap effort since 2013 has resulted in a decrease in the total catch. At the same time, trawl fishing effort has increased since 2012. In 2015, the total commercial catch of Goldband Snapper in the Northern Territory was 501 t, and 18 t was caught in Queensland. The SRA assessments indicated that the current harvest rate is below that required to achieve maximum sustainable yield. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Australian biological stock is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Goldband Snapper biology1,2,7,8

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Goldband Snapper 30 years; 700 mm FL, 810 mm TL 8 years; 470 mm FL, 550 mm TL
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Goldband Snapper

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Fishing methods
Northern Territory
Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels
Management methods
Method Northern Territory
Gear restrictions
Spatial zoning
Total allowable catch
Possession limit
Spatial closures
Active vessels
Northern Territory
8 in DF, 8 in TRF
Demersal Fishery (NT)
Timor Reef Fishery (NT)
Northern Territory
Commercial 571.87t in DF,CLF,TRF
Indigenous Negligible
Recreational 0.5 t , 0.5 t (in 2010)
Demersal Fishery, Coastal Line Fishery, Timor Reef Fishery (NT)

a Queensland For Queensland, the reporting period for the Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery (Queensland) and Deep Water Fin Fish Fishery (Queensland) is financial year (2014–15).
b Queensland – Commercial (fishing methods) In Queensland, Goldband Snapper is trawled in only one of the Queensland fisheries in which it is caught commercially - the Gulf of Carpentaria Developmental Fin Fish Trawl Fishery.
c Indigenous Subject to the defence that applies under Section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), and the exemption from a requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, the non-commercial take by Indigenous fishers is covered by the same arrangements as that for recreational fishing.
d Queensland – Indigenous Under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers in Queensland are entitled to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and possession limits, and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Further exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits.
e Western Australia – Commercial (catch) Catch is unavailable as there were fewer than three vessels in Pilbara Fish Trawl Interim Managed Fishery (Western Australia) and Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery (Western Australia).
f Western Australia – Recreational (catch) Boat-based recreational catch from 1 May 2013–30 April 2014.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Goldband Snapper - note confidential catch not shown

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Effects of fishing on the marine environment

  • The maintenance of high levels of adult biomass of Goldband Snapper in Western Australia, above biomass target levels, results in a low ecotrophic risk from these fisheries. Furthermore, there has been no reduction in either mean trophic level or mean maximum length in the finfish catches recorded within the Pilbara or Kimberley, Western Australia (that is, no fishing down of the food web)11.
  • The impacts on the benthic habitat of fishing activity for Goldband Snapper are limited to those of the trawl fisheries, which is restricted to around seven per cent of the north-west shelf of Western Australia4 and parts of the Northern Territory.
  • There are few bycatch issues associated with trap and line-based fishing. Bycatch of dolphins and turtles can occur in the fish trawls, but this has decreased significantly since the introduction of exclusion grids introduced in Western Australia in 2005 and the Northern Territory in 2006. Given the area of distribution and estimated population size of these protected species, the impact of the fish trawl fishery on the stocks of these protected species is likely to be minimal12,13. Gear and fishing modification continue to reduce this level of interaction3,12,14.
  • The Northern Territory fisheries that target Goldband Snapper have received full Export Exemption accreditation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Western Australian and Queensland east coast fisheries that target Crimson Snapper have received Approved Wildlife Trade Operation Exemptions accreditation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (except for the Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery [Western Australia] which does not export fish). These assessments, subject to adherence to any accompanying conditions and recommendations, demonstrate that these fisheries are managed in a manner that does not lead to overfishing, and that fishing operations have a minimal impact on the structure, productivity, function and biological diversity of the ecosystem.
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Environmental effects on Goldband Snapper

  • Climate change and variability have the potential to impact fish stocks in a range of ways, including influencing their geographic distribution (for example, latitudinal shifts in distribution). However, it is unclear how climate change may affect risks to sustainability of this species. Slow growing and long lived species such as Goldband Snapper are less likely to be affected by short duration environmental changes (of one or a few years), with adult stocks comprising fish recruited over many years.
  • Changes in ocean chemistry such as ocean acidification have the potential to impact on the replenishment rates of fish populations by affecting larval survival15, and also individual growth rates and spawning output16.
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  1. 1 Newman, SJ, Steckis, RA, Edmonds, JS and Lloyd, J 2000, Stock structure of the goldband snapper, Pristipomoides multidens (Pisces: Lutjanidae) from the waters of northern and western Australia by stable isotope ratio analysis of sagittal otolith carbonate, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 198: 239–247.
  2. 2 Ovenden, JR, Lloyd, J, Newman, SJ, Keenan, CP and Slater, LS 2002, Spatial genetic subdivision between northern Australian and southeast Asian populations of Pristipomoides multidens: a tropical marine reef fish species, Fisheries Research, 59(1–2): 57–69.
  3. 3 Fletcher, WJ and Santoro, K (eds.) 2015, Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2014/15: The State of the Fisheries. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 353p.
  4. 4 Newman, SJ, Wakefield, C, Skepper, C, Boddington, D, Blay, N, Jones, R and Dobson, P 2015, North Coast Demersal Fisheries Status Report. pp. 189-206. In: Fletcher, W.J. and Santoro, K. (eds.). Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2014/15: The State of the Fisheries. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 353p.
  5. 5 Grubert, MA, Saunders, TM, Martin, JM, Lee. HS and Walters CJ 2013, Stock assessments of selected Northern Territory fishes, fishery report 110, Northern Territory Government, Darwin.
  6. 6 Martin, JM 2013, Stock assessment of Goldband Snapper (Pristipomoides multidens) in the Northern Territory Demersal and Timor Reef Fisheries, unpublished report, Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, Darwin.
  7. 7 Newman, SJ, Moran, MJ and Lenanton, RCJ 2001, Stock assessment of the outer-shelf species in the Kimberley region of tropical Western Australia, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 97/136, Fisheries Western Australia, Perth.
  8. 8 Newman, SJ and Dunk, IJ 2003, Age validation, growth, mortality and additional population parameters of the goldband snapper (Pristipomoides multidens) off the Kimberley coast of northwestern Australia, Fishery Bulletin, 101(1): 116–128.
  9. 9 West, LD, Lyle, J. M, Matthews, SR, Stark, KE and Steffe, A. S. 2012, Survey of Recreational Fishing in the Northern Territory, 2009-10. Northern Territory Government, Australia. Fishery Report No. 109.
  10. 10 Henry, GW and Lyle, JM 2003, The national recreational and indigenous fishing survey, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 99/158, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canberra,
  11. 11 Hall, NG and Wise, BS 2011, Development of an ecosystem approach to the monitoring and management of Western Australian fisheries, report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2005-063, fisheries research report 215, Western Australian Department of Fisheries, Perth.
  12. 12 Wakefield, CS, Santana-Garcon, J, Dorman, SR, Blight, S, Denham, A, Wakeford, J, Molony, BW and Newman, SJ 2016, Performance of bycatch reduction devices varies for chondrichthyan, reptile, and cetacean mitigation in demersal fish trawls: assimilating subsurface interactions and unaccounted mortality, ICES Journal of Marine Science in press
  13. 13 Molony, BW, Wakefield, CB, Newman, SJ, O’Donoghue, S, Joll, L and Syers, C 2015, The need for a broad perspective concerning fisheries interactions and bycatch of marine mammals, pp.65-78, In: Kruse, GH, An, HC, DiCosimo, J, Eischens, CA, Gislason, GS, McBride, DN, Rose, CS and Siddon, CE (eds.). Fisheries Bycatch: Global Issues and Creative Solutions. Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  14. 14 Northern Territory Government 2016, Status of Key Northern Territory Fish Stocks Report 2014. Northern Territory Government. Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries. Fishery Report No. 115.
  15. 15 Hughes, T 2010, Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility milestone report for program 2.5i.3, report to the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra.
  16. 16 Johnson, JE and Welch, DJ 2010, Marine fisheries management in a changing climate: a review of vulnerability and future options, Reviews in Fisheries Science, 18(1): 106–124.

Archived reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.