Date Published: June 2021
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Also known as Shortfin Pike, Snook is distributed around southern Australia. The status of stocks in SA, TAS and WA is considered to be sustainable. Catches of Snook in NSW are considered to be negligible. In VIC, stock status is undefined.
Stock Status Overview
|Western Australia||Western Australia||Sustainable||Catch, indicator species, risk assessment, stock reduction analyses|
Snook, also known as Shortfin Pike, is distributed around southern Australia from Jurien Bay in Western Australia to southern Queensland, including Tasmania. Snook are found over seagrass beds and kelp reefs near the surface both in inshore and offshore waters of up to 20 m depth [Bertoni 1995, Edgar 2008, Gormon et al. 2008]. There is no information available on the stock structure of Snook in Australian waters. Thus, assessment of stock status is presented at the jurisdictional level—Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
In Western Australia, Snook and Pike (Family: Sphyraenidae) are very minor components of commercial and recreational catches. Commercially, the highest catches of Snook were reported from the Wet Line sector in the Open Access in the South Coast (WA), but catches have been less than 3 tonnes (t) prior to 2014 and less than 5 t in subsequent years. Recreationally the estimated statewide boat-based catch was 1 181 fish (+/- se 404) in 2017–18 [Ryan et al. 2019]. Snook are not targeted by any sector and there is no evidence that catches have fluctuated greatly through time.
All assessments in Western Australia are undertaken using a weight of evidence approach. For Snook, the lines of evidence considered included: catches, catch distribution, effort, vulnerability assessment (Productivity Susceptibility Analysis) and stock reduction analyses (Catch-MSY) [Haddon and Punt 2018]. Furthermore, Catch-MSY forward projections (based on recent catch levels) indicate biomass remains well above the point of recruitment impairment (BMSY limit reference point) under current management arrangements. In addition, in Western Australia, all finfish species are allocated to a species suite [Department of Fisheries 2011]. Snook are part of the nearshore suite in temperate waters of Western Australia. Indicator species are identified, based on biological vulnerability and frequency of capture and include King George Whiting, Australian Salmon and Sea Mullet. As these indicator species have been assessed as sustainable under current management, and given the very low Snook catches and the weight of evidence assessment, the current risk level for the Western Australia Snook stock is estimated to be “Medium”. Therefore, current status of the Snook stock in Western Australia is “Acceptable-Sustainable” and no new management is required.
The available information indicates that the biomass is not depleted and recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. The current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to lead to recruitment impairment.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, Snook in Western Australia is classified as a sustainable stock.
Snook biology [Bertoni 1995, Edgar 2008, Gormon et al. 2008]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|Snook||20 years, 1 100 mm TL||420 mm TL|
Distribution of reported commercial catch of Snook
|Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels|
|Hook and Line|
|Rod and reel|
|Bag and possession limits|
|Recreational||1 t (2017/18)|
Western Australia – Recreational (catch) Western Australia boat-based recreational catch from 1 September 2017–30 August 2018 [Ryan et al 2019]. Shore based catches are largely unknown.
Western Australia – Recreational (management methods) In Western Australia, a recreational fishing from boat licence is required to take finfish from a powered vessel.
Victoria – Commercial (catch) Snook is not differentiated from Longfin Pike caught in Victorian commercial fisheries.
Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.
Tasmania – Recreational (management methods) In Tasmania, a recreational licence is required for fishers using dropline or longline gear, along with nets, such as gillnet or beach seine.
Tasmania – Commercial (catch) Catches reported for the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery are for the period 1 July to 30 June the following year. The most recent assessment available is for 2018/19.
Tasmania – Indigenous (management methods) In Tasmania, Indigenous persons engaged in traditional fishing activities in marine waters are exempt from holding recreational fishing licences, but must comply with all other fisheries rules as if they were licensed. For details, see the policy document "Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities” (https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/Documents/Policy%20for%20Aboriginal%20tags%20and%20alloting%20an%20UIC.pdf).
Commercial catch of Snook - note confidential catch not shown
- Bertoni, M, 1995, The reproductive biology and feeding habits of the snook, Sphyraena novaehollandiae, in South Australian waters. Southern Fisheries, 3:34–35
- Department of Fisheries Western Australia 2011, Resource Assessment Framework (RAF) for finfish resources in Western Australia. Fisheries Occasional Publication No. 85. Department of Fisheries Western Australia, Perth.
- Edgar, GJ 2008, Australian marine life: the plants and animals of temperate waters Reed New Holland Publishers, Sydney, Australia.
- Giri, K, and Hall, K 2015, South Australian Recreational fishing Survey 2013/14. Fisheries Victoria. Internal Report Series No. 62.
- Gormon, M, Bray, D and Kuiter, R 2008, Fishes of Australia’s southern coast Reed New Holland Publishers, Sydney, Australia.
- Krueck, N, Hartmann, K and Lyle, J 2020, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Assessment 2018/19, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
- Moore, B, Lyle, J and Hartmann, K 2018, Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Assessment 2016/17, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
- Rogers, PJ, Tsolos, A, Boyle, MK. 2020. South Australian Charter Boat Fishery Data Summary. Final Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2011/000438-3. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1070. 19pp.
- 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, Western Australia. 195pp
- Steer, MA, Fowler, AJ, Rogers, PJ, Bailleul, F, Earl J, Matthews, D, Drew, M and Tsolos, A. 2020. Assessment of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery in 2018. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2017/000427-3. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1049.
- Victorian Fisheries Authority 2020, Review of key Victorian fish stocks — 2019. VFA Internal Report Series, May 2020.
- Webb 2017, Snook (Sphyraena novaehollandiae): growth, mortality and reproductive biology in north-western Tasmania. MSc thesis, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.