Goldband Snapper (2018)

Pristipomoides multidens

  • Thor Saunders (Department of Primary Industry and Resources, Northern Territory)
  • Amanda Dawson (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Fabian Trinnie (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Stephen Newman (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

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Goldband Snapper is widely distributed through northern Australia. There are five stocks across WA, the NT and QLD. All are sustainable apart from the stock off the Queensland east coast, which is undefined.

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Stock Status Overview

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

Goldband Snapper is widely distributed throughout northern Australia and the tropical Indo–West Pacific. Ovenden et al. [2002] examined the genetic connectivity of Goldband Snapper using mitochondrial DNA from samples collected at six Australian locations (four in Western Australia: Exmouth, Pilbara, Broome, Northern Kimberley; two in the Northern Territory: Timor Sea, Arafura Sea) and three south east Asian locations (Kupang, Irian Jaya, Madang). The mitochondrial DNA data for Goldband Snapper did not differ genetically among Australian locations, except for the northern Kimberley location that exhibited restricted gene flow. Ovenden et al. [2002] reported that samples taken from locations in Southeast Asia were genetically distinct from those sampled from Australian locations. This study indicates that Australian populations of Goldband Snapper are likely to form a single biological stock.

Newman et al. [2000] examined otolith stable isotopes in each of three management regions in Western Australia (Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne), and across northern Australia. Significant differences in stable isotope ratios provided evidence that there was limited mixing of adult Goldband Snapper between all sites sampled in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Therefore, each of these broad locations could be treated separately for the purposes of fishery management, if management arrangements were mediated in a way that harmonized with the spatial patterns of exploitation. The study of Newman et al. [2000] indicates that Goldband Snapper is likely to consist of a number of separate management units around western, northern and eastern Australia. 

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

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Stock Status

Northern Australia

The Northern Australia Goldband Snapper biological stock was assessed in using data up to 2016 using a stochastic stock reduction analysis (SRA) model [Martin 2018]. Egg production was estimated to be between 60–70 per cent of unfished levels, well above conventional fisheries target levels. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment impaired.

Around 90 per cent of the catch is from the Timor Sea and western Arafura Sea [NTG 2018]. 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 1 300 t. 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 2017, the total commercial catch of Goldband Snapper in the Northern Territory was 501 t, and there was no catch in Queensland. The SRA outputs indicated that there is less than a 3 per cent chance of current fishing mortality causing the stock to become recruitment impaired [Martin 2018]. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Australia management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Goldband Snapper biology [Newman et al. 2001, Newman and Dunk 2003, Wakefield et al. unpublished data]
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Goldband Snapper 30 years, 700 mm FL, 810 mm TL 4.6 years, 417 mm FL , 526 mm TL
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Goldband Snapper
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Fishing methods
Northern Territory
Otter Trawl
Fish Trap
Hook and Line
Management methods
Method Northern Territory
Gear restrictions
Spatial zoning
Total allowable catch
Possession limit
Spatial closures
Northern Territory
Commercial 340.69t in DF, 194.51t in TRF
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 0.5 t (in 2010)
Demersal Fishery (NT)
Timor Reef Fishery (NT)

Western Australia – Commercial (catch) Goldband Snapper forms part of the combined Total Allowable Commercial Catch for other mixed demersal species in the GDSMF.

Western AustraliaActive Vessels Data is confidential as there were fewer than three vessels operating in Pilbara Fish Trawl Interim Managed Fishery and Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery.

Western Australia – Recreational (Catch) Boat-based recreational catch is from 1 September 2015–31 August 2016. These data are derived from those reported in Ryan et al. 2017.

Western Australia – Recreational (management methods) A Recreational Fishing from Boat License is required for the use of a powered boat to fish or to transport catch or fishing gear to or from a land-based fishing location.

Western Australia – 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 recreational fishing licence, the non-commercial take by indigenous fishers is covered by the same arrangements as that for recreational fishing.

Northern Territory – Charter (management methods) In the Northern Territory, charter operators are regulated through the same management methods as the recreational sector but are subject to additional limits on license and passenger numbers.

Northern Territory – Indigenous (management methods) The Fisheries Act 1988 (NT), specifies that “…without derogating from any other law in force in the Territory, nothing in a provision of this Act or an instrument of a judicial or administrative character made under it limits the right of Aboriginals who have traditionally used the resources of an area of land or water in a traditional manner from continuing to use those resources in that area in that manner”.

Queensland – Commercial (catch) For Queensland, the normal reporting period for the Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery is financial year. The above commercial catch total listed above however is for calendar year (2017).

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.

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.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Goldband Snapper - note confidential catch not shown
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  1. DPIRD 2017, North Coast demersal scalefish resource harvest strategy 2017–2021. Version 1.0. Fisheries Management Paper No. 285. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 35p.
  2. Gaughan, DJ and Santoro, K (eds.) 2018, Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2016/17: The State of the Fisheries. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 237p.
  3. 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.
  4. Newman, SJ, Brown, JI, Fairclough, DV, Wise, BS, Bellchambers, L.M, Molony, BW, Lenanton, RCJ, Jackson, G, Smith, KA, Gaughan, DJ, Fletcher, WJ, McAuley, RB and Wakefield, CB 2018, A risk assessment and prioritisation approach to the selection of indicator species for the assessment of multi-species, multi-gear, multi-sector fishery resources. Marine Policy 88: 11–22.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Newman, SJ, Wakefield, C, Skepper, C, Boddington, D, Jones, R and Smith, E 2018, North Coast Demersal Resource Status Report 2017. pp. 127–133. In: Gaughan, D.J. and Santoro, K. (eds.). Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2016/17: The State of the Fisheries. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 237p.
  8. Northern Territory Government (NTG) 2018, Status of Key Northern Territory Fish Stocks Report 2016. Northern Territory Government. Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries. Fishery Report No. 119.
  9. 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.
  10. Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Taylor, SM, Wise, BS 2017, Statewide survey of boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2015/16. Fisheries research Report No. 287. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia, Perth. 
  11. 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.

Downloadable reports

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