Goldband Snapper (2020)
Date Published: June 2021
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Goldband Snapper is widely distributed across northern Australia. There are nine stocks—defined at either the management unit or biological stock level—across WA, the NT and QLD. All are classified as sustainable apart from the East Coast Queensland management unit and the Gulf of Carpentaria and Joseph Bonaparte Gulf biological stocks, which are undefined.
Stock Status Overview
|Northern Territory||Joseph Bonaparte Gulf||Undefined||
|Northern Territory||Timor Sea||Sustainable||
Biomass, Fishing Mortality
|Northern Territory||Arafura Sea||Sustainable||
Biomass, Fishing Mortality
|Northern Territory||Gulf of Carpentaria||Undefined||
Goldband Snapper is widely distributed throughout northern Australia and the tropical Indo–West Pacific. Ovenden et al.  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.  reported that samples taken from locations in Southeast Asia were genetically distinct from those sampled from Australian locations. This study indicated that within the region sampled, Goldband Snapper are likely to form a single biological stock.
Newman et al.  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. Recently, Saunders et al.  used otolith microchemistry and parasitology to identify separate biological Goldband Snapper stocks in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, Timor Sea, Arafura Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria.
Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne (Western Australia) and East Coast Queensland and at the biological stock level for the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, Timor Sea, Arafura Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria.
Goldband Snapper has been primarily harvested in this stock using finfish trawl gear. Before three additional trawlers entered the fishery in 2012 the average catch over the previous ten years was steady at approximately 55 tonnes (t) annually. The catches increased substantially to a peak of 211 t in 2016 before declining to 105 t in 2019 as vessels moved to other areas in the fishery. CPUE during this increasing period of catch has also substantially increased [Saunders 2020a]. This stock was assessed using data up to 2019 using a stochastic stock reduction analysis (SRA) model [Saunders 2020a]. Biomass levels were estimated to be 91 % of unfished levels, well above the limit reference point. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment impaired.
The SRA outputs also indicated that the current fishing mortality was well below the level that could cause the stock to become recruitment impaired. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
While this biomass estimate appears overly optimistic, a trawl survey conducted in 1990 indicated a total biomass of approximately 3 700 t of Goldband Snapper [Ramm 1994]. Therefore, the peak harvest in this stock only represents a 6 per cent harvest fraction of the total biomass which is highly unlikely to have had a significantly negative impact on the stock.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Arafura Sea biological stock is classified as a sustainable stock.
Gulf of Carpentaria
Goldband Snapper is mostly harvested by trawlers in the Gulf of Carpentaria Developmental Fin Fish Trawl Fishery) (GOCDFFTF - Queensland) and Demersal Fishery (DF- Northern Territory). There is no reliable estimate of recreational or Indigenous harvest of Goldband Snapper in the Gulf of Carpentaria, but it is expected to be minor given the offshore nature of the fishery. This stock was also exposed to historical fishing from foreign fleets during the 1950s to the 1980s [O’Neill et al. 2011] but these catches were negligible (1945–1980 average; 2 t) compared to the current catches. Total catch from the GOCDFFTF has historically been relatively low, reaching a peak of 35 t in 2011. This fishery has been inactive for several years however, and no catch has been recorded since 2016 [QFISH 2020]. The DF only recorded small catches of Goldband Snapper (2006–2014 average; 4.6 t), before effort in this stock area increased significantly with the total catch rising to 49 t in 2019. This catch is low compared to the other Goldband Snapper stocks, however, the historical trawl survey in this region [Sainsbury et al. 1991] did not record high abundances of this species compared to other stocks (e.g. Timor and Arafura seas) so it is unknown what the impact of these catches are on the biomass of this stock. Consequently, there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Gulf of Carpentaria biological stock is classified as an undefined stock.
Joseph Bonaparte Gulf
Goldband Snapper in this stock have been primarily harvested by the Demersal Fishery finfish trawl gear. This area was only opened to trawling in 2012 so catches have been historically low (20 year average, 0.5 t). Since this time, catches have increased to 27 t in 2019. A trawl survey conducted in this region in 1990 [Ramm 1994], estimated the biomass of Goldband Snapper in this stock to be approximately 320 t. Consequently, the current harvest represents an 8 per cent harvest fraction of this species. This evidence suggests that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Similarly, the harvest in 2019 is only a small fraction of the estimated biomass indicating that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, Goldband Snapper in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf is classified as a sustainable stock.
Goldband Snapper has been primarily harvested in this stock by trap and line gear. Line fishing rarely occurs now and a reduction in trap effort since 2013 has resulted in a decrease in the total catch from a peak of 625 t in 2009 to 246 t in 2019. CPUE has remained highly variable, but generally has had a flat trajectory during this time [Saunders 2020b] suggesting that the decline of effort has not been related to a decline in the stock. This stock was assessed using data up to 2019 using a stochastic stock reduction analysis (SRA) model [Saunders 2020b]. Biomass levels were estimated to be 82 per cent of unfished levels, well above the limit reference point. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment impaired.
The SRA outputs also indicated that the current fishing mortality was well below the level that could cause the stock to become recruitment impaired indicating that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
While the biomass estimates for this stock appear overly optimistic, a trawl survey conducted in 1990 indicated a total biomass of approximately 4 800 t of Goldband Snapper (Ramm 1994). Therefore, the peak harvest in this stock only represents a 13 per cent harvest fraction of the total biomass which is highly unlikely to have had a significantly negative impact on the stock.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Australia management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.
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|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Total allowable catch|
|Recreational||< 1 t (in 2015)|
Western Australia – Commercial (catch) Goldband Snapper forms part of the combined Total Allowable Commercial Catch for other mixed demersal species in the GDSMF.
Western Australia – Active 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 2017–31 August 2018. These data are derived from those reported in Ryan et al. .
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 application of 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 – Indigenous (management methods) for more information see https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/traditional-fishing
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Newman, SJ, Wakefield, C, Skepper, C, Boddington, and Blay, N 2020, North Coast Demersal Resource Status Report 2019. pp. 159–168. In: Gaughan, D.J. and Santoro, K. (eds.). 2020. Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2018/19: The State of the Fisheries. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 291p.
- O'Neill, MF, Leigh, GM, Martin, JM, Newman, SJ, Chambers, M, Dichmont, CM, Buckworth, RC 2011, Sustaining productivity of tropical red snappers using new monitoring and reference points, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Project Number 2009/037.
- 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.
- QFish, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, www.qfish.gov.au
- Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (2020) Reef line fishery harvest strategy: 2020–2025. Brisbane, Queensland.
- Ramm DC, 1994, Assessment of the status, composition and market potential of the demersal trawl fish resources in northern Australian waters. Final report the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation on project number 90/15.
- Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Tate, A, Taylor, SM, Wise, BS 2019, Statewide survey of boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2017/18. Fisheries Research Report No. 297. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia, Perth.
- Sainsbury, KJ, Campbell, R, Brewer, DT, Harris, AN, McLoughlin, K, Ramm, DC, Staples, DJ, Xiao, Y and Knuckey, I 1991, Northern Fisheries Research Committee Trawl Fisheries Assessment Working Group.
- Saunders, T 2020a Stock Status Summary - 2020 Goldband Snapper (Pristipomoides multidens) Timor Sea Stock Reduction Analysis. Unpublished Fishery Report.
- Saunders, T 2020b, Stock Status Summary - 2020 Goldband Snapper (Pristipomoides multidens) Arafura Sea Stock Reduction Analysis. Unpublished Fishery Report.
- Saunders, T, Barton, D, Crook, D, Hearnden, M and Newman, S 2018, Stock/management unit division in the Northern Territory Offshore Snapper Fishery. Unpublished Fishery Report.
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