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Golden Snapper (2020)

Lutjanus johnii

  • Thor Saunders (Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade)
  • Fabian Trinnie (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Lisa Walton (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Stephen Newman (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Anthony Roelofs (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)

Date Published: June 2021

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Summary

There are five assessment units of Golden Snapper across Australia’s north. The WA, Regional NT, Gulf of Carpentaria and Eastern Australia assessment units are sustainable, whereas the Darwin Region management unit of the NT is classified as depleted.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Western Australia Sustainable

Catch

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Stock Structure

Golden Snapper is a moderately long-lived (i.e. 30 years), late-maturing species that can reach a length of one metre [Cappo et al. 2013]. They are broadly distributed throughout the tropical and sub-tropical Indo-West Pacific with juveniles spending several years in estuarine and inshore reef habitats before migrating to nearshore reef environments (to a depth of at least 80 m) as they near sexual maturity [Allen 1985, Kiso and Mahyam, 2003, Tanaka et al. 2011].

The distribution of this species within Australian waters extends from the Kimberley region in Western Australia, around the north of the continent to the southern Great Barrier Reef (around Rockhampton) [Travers et al. 2009]. A study of the stock structure of Golden Snapper across this range suggests that many functionally separate adult populations are present at a scale of tens of kilometres, although boundaries are unknown [Saunders et al. 2016].

Golden Snapper experience moderate to high harvest rates in some Australian fisheries (particularly those targeting adults of this late-maturing species), which can cause localised depletion. However, it is extremely difficult to collect relevant biological and catch-and-effort information to assess each adult population unit.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the jurisdictional level―Western Australia; and the management unit level―Darwin Region, and Regional Northern Territory (Northern Territory); Gulf of Carpentaria (Northern Territory and Queensland), East Coast (Queensland).

 

 

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Stock Status

Western Australia

Golden Snapper are not a target species in the demersal fisheries of Western Australia, but are landed in small quantities as byproduct [Newman et al. 2020]. The total commercial catch of Golden Snapper in Western Australian demersal fisheries has been low and stable over the last 10 years (2010–2019), ranging from <100 kg–1.7 t per year, with a mean annual catch of 560 kg. Golden Snapper are also landed by recreational (~2 t annually) and charter fishers (~5 t annually), primarily in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The catch of recreational and charter fishers is greater than the commercial catch of this species. The low catches of Golden Snapper in Western Australia are derived from a limited area compared to the wider distribution of the species. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired. The above evidence also indicates that the biomass of Golden Snapper in Western Australia unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Golden Snapper in Western Australia is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Golden Snapper biology [Hay et al. 2005, Cappo et al. 2013,  Welch et al. 2014]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Golden Snapper 30 years, 990 mm FL, 15 kg Varies by location and sex: Males 4–9 years and ~400–600 mm FL, Females 6–10 years and 400–650 mm FL
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Golden Snapper

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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels
Fish Trap
Recreational
Spearfishing
Indigenous
Hook and Line
Unspecified
Charter
Rod and reel
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Charter
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Licence
Limited entry
Passenger restrictions
Possession limit
Size limit
Spatial closures
Spatial zoning
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Spatial zoning
Total allowable catch
Total allowable effort
Vessel restrictions
Indigenous
Laws of general application
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Licence (Recreational Fishing from Boat License)
Possession limit
Size limit
Spatial closures
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 344.80kg
Charter 6 t
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 2 t (2017/18)

Western Australia – Active Vessels Data is unreportable as there were fewer than three vessels operating in the PFTIMF, PTMF and WL.

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 – 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. 2019.

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
 

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Golden Snapper - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Allen, GR 1985, FAO species catalogue, volume 6, snappers of the world. FAO Fisheries Synopsis 125.
  2. Cappo, M, Marriott, RJ and Newman, SJ 2013, James’s rule and causes and consequences of a latitudinal cline in the demography of John’s Snapper (Lutjanus johnii) in coastal waters of Australia, Fishery Bulletin, 111(4): 309–324.
  3. Grubert, MA, Saunders, TM, Martin, JM, Lee, HS and Walters, CJ 2013, Stock assessments of selected Northern Territory fishes, Fishery report 110, Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Darwin.
  4. Haddon, M, Punt, A and Burch, P 2018, simpleSA: a package containing functions to facilitate relatively simple stock assessments. R package version 0.1.1.18
  5. Hay, T, Knuckey, I, Calogeras, C and Errity, C 2005, Population and biology of the Golden Snapper, Fishery report 21, Northern Territory Government, Darwin.
  6. Kiso, K and MI Mahyam 2003, Distribution and feeding habits of juvenile and young John’s snapper Lutjanus johnii in the Matang mangrove estuary, west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Fisheries Science, 69: 563–568.
  7. Martell, S and Froese, R 2013, A simple method for estimating MSY from catch and resilience. Fish and Fisheries 14: 504–514.
  8. 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 2017/18: The State of the Fisheries. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 291p.
  9. Northern Territory Government (NTG) 2017, Status of key Northern Territory Fish Stocks Report 2015, Northern Territory Government Department of Resources, fishery report 118.
  10. O’Neill, MF, Leigh, GM, Martin, JM, Newman, SJ, Chambers, M, Dichmont, CM and Buckworth, RC 2011, Sustaining productivity of tropical Red Snappers using new monitoring and reference points, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2009/037, Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane.
  11. 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. 
  12. Saunders, T (2018), Stock assessment of Golden Snapper (Lutjanus johnii) in the ‘Darwin Region' of the Northern Territory. Unpublished Fishery Report.
  13. Saunders, T (2020), Regional NT Golden Snapper Stock Status Summary - 2020. Unpublished Fishery Report.
  14. Saunders, T and Roelofs, A (2020a), East Coast Queensland Golden Snapper Stock Status Summary - 2020. Unpublished Fishery Report
  15. Saunders, T and Roelofs, A (2020b),Gulf of Carpentaria Golden Snapper Stock Status Summary - 2020. Unpublished Fishery Report.
  16. Saunders, TM, Welch, D, Barton, D, Crook, D, Dudgeon, C, Hearnden, M, Maher, S, Ovenden, J, Taillebois, L and Taylor J 2016, Optimising the management of tropical coastal reef fish through the development of Indigenous capability. FRDC final report 2013/017.
  17. Tanaka, K, Hanamura, Y, Chong, VC, Watanabe, S, Man, A, Kassim, FM, Kodama, M and Ichikawa, T 2011, Stable isotope analysis reveals ontogenetic migration and the importance of a large mangrove estuary as a feeding ground for juvenile John’s snapper Lutjanus johnii. Fisheries Science 77: 809–816.
  18. Teixeira, D, Janes, R and Webley, J 2021, 2019/20 Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey Key Results, Project Report. State of Queensland, Brisbane.
  19. Travers, MJ, Potter, IC, Clarke, KR, Newman, SJ and Hutchins, JB 2009, The inshore fish faunas over soft substrates and reefs on the tropical west coast of Australia differ and change with latitude and bioregion. Journal of Biogeography, 37: 148–169.
  20. Webley, J, McInnes, K, Teixeira, D, Lawson, A and Quinn, R 2015, Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey 2013-14, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  21. Welch, DJ, Robins, J, Saunders, T, Courtney, T, Harry, A, Lawson, E, Moore, BR, Tobin, A, Turnbull, C, Vance, D and Williams, AJ 2014, Implications of climate change impacts on fisheries resources of northern Australia, part 2: Species profiles, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2010/565, James Cook University, Townsville.

Downloadable reports

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