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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
|New South Wales||New South Wales||OTLF||Undefined||Catch, effort, standardised catch rate|
- Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)
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.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, Hapuku are primarily caught as a by-product in the Ocean Trap and Line (OTL) Fishery on dropline gear, where target species are commonly Blue-eye Trevalla (Hyperoglyphe antartica). Since 1997–98, commercial catches of Hapuku have been reported independently to Bass Groper (P. americanus). Annual reported commercial catches of Hapuku have steadily declined since the reported peak of 15.6 t in 1999–2000. Within the last decade (2007–08 to 2016–17) the average annual commercial catch of Hapuku reported in New South Wales was 3 t, and within in the last five years (2012–13 to 2016–17) the average annual commercial catch was 1.8 t. Over the same periods of time trends in effort reflect that in catch. Together with information on the mean weight (7.6 kg) of Hapuku caught and retained in the OTL Fishery [Macbeth and Gray 2015], the commercial fishery for Hapuku over the last five years, is responsible for the harvest of an average annual number of < 250 individual fish. Standardised catch rates (kg per day) from droplining in the OTL Fishery has not shown any clear trend since 1997–98, with variance associated with the annual estimates being substantially larger since about 2009–10, associated with fewer reported catches [Chick and Fowler 2018].
Although New South Wales commercial catches are low, the impact of fishing on the Hapuku stock in New South Wales remains uncertain. Indigenous catches of Hapuku are unknown. Recreational catch of Hapuku is not well understood in New South Wales. Henry and Lyle  estimated the New South Wales annual recreational harvest of Rock Cod/Gropers (including Hapuku and nine other ‘offshore/deep’ species) to be 4 770 (± 1 532) individuals, with offshore (> 5 km from shore) recreational fishing effort representing 1.3 per cent of the State-wide total. West et al.  reported no recreational catch of Hapuku in 2013–14, whilst also reporting offshore (> 5 km) fishing effort comprised < 2 per cent (54 773 fisher days) of all reported recreational fishing effort. Available estimates of recreational catch in New South Wales are considered unreliable as large-scale phone and diary surveys like those of Henry and Lyle  and West et al.  underestimate catches from small specific fisheries like the offshore recreational fishery.
A review of indicators (weight-of-evidence approach) was used to assess the status of Hapuku in New South Wales. There are insufficient data available to support more quantitative stock assessment methods. Current uncertainty regarding Hapuku stock structure and biology, low levels of catch and low numbers of reported daily catch between different commercial fishing methods that exacerbate uncertainty surrounding estimates of catch rate, together with uncertain levels of recreational catches, provide insufficient information with which to determine a stock status [Chick and Fowler, 2018].
On the basis of the evidence provided above, Hapuku in New South Wales 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
|New South Wales|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Method||New South Wales|
|Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority|
|New South Wales|
|Commercial||1.22t in OTLF|
- Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (NSW)
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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