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The stock structure of Hapuku in Australian waters is unknown. Stock status at the jurisdictional level shows Hapuku is ‘sustainable’ in WA, ‘undefined’ in Qld and NSW, ‘depleting’ in Commonwealth waters and ‘negligible’ in SA.
Stock Status Overview
- Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery (QLD)
The stock structure of Hapuku throughout Australian waters is unknown. Life history characteristics, similar to Bass Groper (P. americanus), suggest a broad population structure [Ball et al. 2000]. However, Beentjes and Francis  inferred the likelihood of separate stocks within New Zealand based on tagging studies of Hapuku, despite recorded movements of up to about 1 400 km. Paul  reported on the stock structure of Hapuku (and Bass Groper) in New Zealand, reviewing available data, concluding that stock structure could not be described, and there was insufficient data describing the life history characteristics to distinguish different stocks. Wakefield et al.  described differences in aged-based demography and reproduction of Hapuku among regions of Western Australia, and likely pan-oceanic mixing of the broader P. oxygeneios population (including Indian Ocean). No such investigations have been done on Hapuku throughout eastern and south eastern Australian waters to develop our understanding of stock structure. It is likely Hapuku in eastern and south eastern Australian waters constitute one or more stocks of a greater population and fisheries within this region access this stock or subset of stocks in support of their annual catches. Panmixia could be expected throughout the region, owing to the extended larval/juvenile phase (years) and large-scale genetic homogeneity of congener P. americanus which has similar life-history traits [Ball et al. 2000, Roberts 1996, Sedberry et al. 1996, Wakefield et al. 2010]. Evidence in support of a single biological stock, or stock structuring within broader Australian waters is limited.
Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the jurisdictional level—Commonwealth, Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.
Queensland’s access to Hapuku is limited by their distribution [Kailola et al. 1993] and only minor catches are made in this jurisdiction. There is no formal assessment of Hapuku in Queensland waters. Historically, Hapuku has been targeted in the Deep Water Fin Fish Fishery (DWFFF) with an average harvest of 4 t between 1997–2002. Since this time, the average annual catch has declined below 1 t as overall effort in the fishery has reduced [QDAF 2018]. Current reported catch is incidental harvest from the Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery (RRFFF). Catch and effort in 2017 was low with a total of 45 kg and two days effort. There was no recreational harvest of Hapuku reported in Queensland’s latest recreational fishing survey [Webley et al. 2015]. It is unlikely that the Queensland harvest is significantly impacting the overall stock but there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, Hapuku in Queensland is classified as an undefined stock.
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|Hapuku||52 years Females 1 114 mm TL Males 702 mm TL||Females 7.1 years, 760 mm TL Males 6.8 years, 702 mm TL|
Distribution of reported commercial catch of Hapuku
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Commercial||45.00kg in RRFFF|
- Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery (QLD)
Western Australia – Recreational (management methods) Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence is required for use of a powered boat to fish or to transport catch or fishing gear to or from a land-based fishing location.
Queensland – Indigenous (management methods) 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.
New South Wales – Indigenous (Management Methods) The Aboriginal Cultural Fishing Interim Access Arrangement allows an Indigenous fisher in New South Wales to take in excess of a recreational bag limit in certain circumstances—for example, if they are doing so to provide fish to other community members who cannot harvest themselves. The Aboriginal cultural fishing authority is the authority that Indigenous persons can apply to take catches outside the recreational limits under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority. In cases where the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) applies fishing activity can be undertaken by the person holding native title in line with S.211 of that Act, which provides for fishing activities for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs. In managing the resource where native title has been formally recognised, the native title holders are engaged with to ensure their native title rights are respected and inform management of the State's fisheries resources.
Commercial catch of Hapuku - note confidential catch not shown
- AFMA 2014, Residual risk assessment. Teleost and chondrichthyan species: Report for the scalefish automatic longline method of the gillnet hook and trap sector. Australian Fisheries Management Authority.
- AFMA 2015, Ecological risk management: Strategy for the southern and eastern scalefish and shark fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority.
- Ball, AO, Sedberry, GR, Zatcoff, MS, Chapman, RW and Carlin, JL 2000, Population structure of the wreckfish Polyprion americanus determined with microsatellite genetic markers. Marine Biology, 137(5-6): 1077–1090.
- Beentjes, MP and Francis MP 1999, Movement of hapuku (Polyprion oxygeneios) determined from tagging studies. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 33(1): 1–12
- Chick, RC and Fowler, AM 2018, Stock status summary and stock assessment report 2018 - Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (Line Fishing – Eastern Zone). Hapuku (Polyprion oxygeneios). NSW Department of Primary Industries, Port Stephens Fisheries Institute: 32pp.
- Francis, MP, Mulligan, KP, Davies, NM, Beentjes, MP 1999, Age and growth estimates for New Zealand hapuku, Polyprion oxygeneios. Fishery Bulletin 97(2): 227–242.
- Henry, GW and Lyle, JM 2003, The national recreational and Indigenous fishing survey. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
- Kailola, PJ, Williams, MJ, Stewart, PC, Reichelt, RE, McNee, A and Grieve, C 1993, Australian fisheries resources. Bureau of resource sciences, department of primary industries and energy. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, Australia.
- Macbeth, WG and Gray, CA 2015, Observer-based study of commercial line fishing in waters off New South Wales, NSW DPI – Fisheries Final Report Series No. 148. Commercial Fishing Trust Fund Project no. FSC2006/179.
- Martell, S and Froese, R 2013, A simple method for estimating MSY from catch and resilience. Fish and Fisheries, 14: 504–514.
- Paul, LR 2002, Can existing data describe the stock structure of the two New Zealand groper species, hapuku (Polyprion oxygeneios) and bass (P. americanus)? New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2002/14. 24p.
- Paxton, JR, Hoese, DF, Allen, GR, and Hanley, JE 1989, Pisces. Petromyzontidae to Carangidae Zoological Catalogue, 7. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, Australia.
- Penney, A, Williams, A and Hobsbawn, P 2018, SESSF Hapuku Stock Status Summary–2018
- Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries. 19–20 June 2018, Brisbane.
- Roberts, CD 1996, Hapuku and bass: the mystery of the missing juveniles. Seafood New Zealand, 4: 17–21.
- Sedberry GR, Andrade CA, Carlin JL, Chapman RW and others 1999, Wreckfish Polyprion americanus in the North Atlantic: fisheries, biology, and management of a widely distributed and long-lived fish. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23, American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland, 27−50.
- Wakefield, CB, Newman, SJ and Molony, BW 2010, Age-based demography and reproduction of hapuku, Polyprion oxygeneios, from the south coast of Western Australia: implications for management. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 67(6): 1164–1174.
- Webley, J, McInnes, K, Teixeira, D, Lawson, A and Quinn, R 2015. Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey 2013–14. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland Government.
- West, LD, Stark, KE, Murphy, JJ, Lyle, JM and Ochwada-Doyle, FA 2015, Survey of recreational fishing in New South Wales and the ACT, 2013/14. Fisheries Final Report Series No. 149. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongong.
- Zhou, S, Fuller, M and Daley, R 2012, Sustainability assessment of fish species potentially impacted in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery: 2007-2010. Report to the Australia Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, Australia.
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