Sphyraena novaehollandiae

  • Timothy Emery (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Brett Molony (Department of Fisheries, Western Australia)
  • Corey Green (Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victoria)
  • Jeremy Lyle (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • John Stewart (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Mike Steer (South Australian Research and Development Institute)

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Victoria Victoria CIF, OF, PPBF Undefined Catch
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
Ocean Fishery (VIC)
Port Phillip Bay Fishery (VIC)
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Stock Structure

Also known as Shortfin Pike, Snook is distributed around southern Australia from Jurien Bay in Western Australia to southern Queensland, including northern Tasmania. It is usually found over seagrass beds and kelp reefs near the surface both in inshore and offshore waters of up to 20 m1–3. There is little information available on the stock structure of Snook in Australian waters.


Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the jurisdictional level—Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

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Stock Status


In Victoria, landings of Snook (Shortfin Pike) and Longfin Pike (Dinolestes lewini) are not reported separately. Consequently, reported catches are pooled and reported as ‘Pike’. Pike are mainly caught in the Port Phillip Bay Fishery (PPBF) and Corner Inlet Fishery (CIF) where 28.5 t and 5.8 t were landed, respectively. In the PPBF, Pike are landed using mesh nets and haul seines. The location of capture and inspection by Fisheries Officers, suggest that these fish are likely to be Longfin Pike (pers com Fisheries Officer Burgess). In the CIF, ‘Pike’ are landed using mesh net and haul seine, although the species proportion is unknown. There is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.


On the basis of the evidence provided above, Snook in Victoria is classified as an undefined stock.

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Snook biology1–3

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Snook 20 years; 1100 mm  TL 420 mm  TL 
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Snook

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Fishing methods
Mesh Net
Haul Seine
Unspecified - Seine
Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels
Management methods
Method Victoria
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Bag and possession limits
Size limit
Active vessels
15 in CIF, 26 in PPBF
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
Port Phillip Bay Fishery (VIC)
Recreational Unknown

a Tasmania – Recreational (management methods) In Tasmania, a recreational licence is required for fishers using dropline or longline gear, along with nets, such as gillnet or beach seine.
b Western Australia – Recreational (management methods) In Western Australia, a recreational fishing from boat licence is required to take finfish from a powered vessel.
c Victoria – Indigenous (management methods) In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing are also applied to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Recognised Traditional Owners (groups that hold native title or have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 [Vic]) are exempt (subject to conditions) from the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, and can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise customary fishing (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). The Indigenous category in Table 3 refers to customary fishing undertaken by recognised Traditional Owners. In 2015, there were no applications for customary fishing permits to access Snook.
d Victoria – Indigenous (management methods) 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 Victorian recreational fishing licence, the non-commercial take by indigenous fishers is covered by the same arrangements as that for recreational fishing.
e Tasmania – Indigenous (management methods) In Tasmania, aborigines engaged in aboriginal fishing activities in marine waters are exempt from holding recreational fishing licences, but must comply with all other fisheries rules as if they were licensed. Additionally, recreational bag and possession limits also apply. If using pots, rings, set lines or gillnets, aborigines must obtain a unique identifying code (UIC). The policy document Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities for issuing a Unique Identifying Code (UIC) to a person for Aboriginal Fishing activity explains the steps to take in making an application for a UIC.
f Western Australia – Recreational (catch) Western Australia boat-based recreational catch from 1 May 2013–30 April 2014.
g Victoria – Commercial (catch) Snook is not differentiated from Longfin Pike caught in Victorian commercial fisheries.

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Effects of fishing on the marine environment

  • Trolling was considered a low risk to Snook populations in the 2012–13 ecological risk assessment (ERA) of the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery8. It was also considered to have a negligible impact on associated by-product and bycatch species as capture is minimal and most are released alive and healthy. Trolling was also considered to be of negligible risk to threatened, endangered and protected (TEP) species as interactions are rare. While ‘Pike’ is an important predator, it is unlikely that the current level of fishing pressure is high enough to impact the ecosystem structure and associated marine environment.


  • Mesh netting was considered a high risk to Snook populations in the 2012–13 ERA of the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery8. This is due to the significant overlap between this sub-fishery and the species’ distribution along the north coast of Tasmania. Snook is also highly selected by the mesh size used and is usually retained. Some TEP species were also considered medium risk from mesh netting including: marine mammals, seabirds and chondrichthyans due to their low productivity and post release survival. Importantly, cormorants were ranked high risk, due to the increased likelihood of interactions occurring caused by gear being deployed in shallower waters. In reality, mesh net effort in northern Tasmania is at such a low level that the risk to these species is likely lower than identified in the ERA.


  • The Victorian Bays and Inlets commercial fishers have adopted environmentally responsible fishing practices9. It is likely that fishing activities have minimal impact on the environment.
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Environmental effects on Snook

  • The impact of environmental factors on Snook is unknown. However, their abundance and distribution are likely to be affected by environmental conditions, including ocean currents, temperature and salinity, which may influence habitat suitability, food availability and recruitment.