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Snook

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)

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Tasmania Tasmania SF Undefined Catch, effort, CPUE trends
SF
Scalefish Fishery (TAS)
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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

Tasmania

The fishery for Snook in Tasmania is small and mainly limited to northern areas of the state. Snook, for the most part, are a by-product species, but may be targeted opportunistically by a small number of fishers. Prior to 2000, commercial landings of Snook averaged 15 t, before declining to around 5 t in the mid-2000s5. Since 2005, landings have remained fairly stable, averaging 6–9 t5. There are no estimates of recreational landings but evidence suggests that ‘Pike’ are not a major recreational target and when caught, most are released. Snook is usually targeted through the use of troll or small mesh net fishing gear and is a by-product of beach seining and gillnetting5. Trolling effort for Snook has been relatively stable in recent years, while mesh net effort has been variable. Catch rates have also been variable for both methods, but with some evidence of a decline in recent years. While catches are low and likely to be within sustainable levels, a lack of information as to the biological vulnerability of this species to fishing means there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of the stock.

 

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

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Biology

Snook biology1–3

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Snook 20 years; 1100 mm  TL 420 mm  TL 
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Snook

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Tables

Fishing methods
Tasmania
Commercial
Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels
Coastal, Estuary and River Set Nets
Beach Seine
Various
Recreational
Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels
Trolling
Gillnet
Management methods
Method Tasmania
Commercial
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Recreational
Bag and possession limits
Licence
Active vessels
Tasmania
18 in SF
SF
Scalefish Fishery (TAS)
Catch
Tasmania
Commercial 6.48t in SF
Recreational Unknown
SF
Scalefish Fishery (TAS)

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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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Snook

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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.