From 1 September 2011, the recreational possession limit for snapper has been reduced from five to four. A maximum of only one fish with a total length over 70 cm is allowed. The minimum size limit for snapper remains at 35 cm. This applies to all recreational anglers, including fishing from charter boats.
Based on the outcomes of recent stock assessments, Fisheries Queensland has determined snapper as overfished and has reviewed the management arrangements for snapper and other fish in the Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery. A regulatory impact statement (RIS) was released for public comment.
The RIS outlined options for managing this fishery in the future. As part of this RIS, all fishing rules for the Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery were under review to ensure the long-term sustainability of the state's stock of snapper and other species. A range of proposals affecting all fishing sectors were included in the RIS for public feedback.
Consultation meeting summaries
- Noosa meeting summary (PDF, 93 kB)
- Mooloolaba meeting summary (PDF, 70 kB)
- Caloundra meeting summary (PDF, 70 kB)
- Redcliffe meeting summary (PDF, 70 kB)
- Wynnum meeting summary (PDF, 71 kB)
- Victoria Point meeting summar(PDF, 72 kB)
- Southport meeting summary (PDF, 140 kB).
Two snapper stock assessments were carried out by Fisheries Queensland - one in 2006 and the other in 2009. Based on the outcomes of the stock assessments, Fisheries Queensland has determined that the snapper stock is less than 35% of its unfished levels. It is internationally recognised that fish stocks at 40% (or less) of their 'unfished levels' are classed as 'overfished'. This means snapper in Queensland is being harvested at unsustainable levels.
Independent reviews of these assessments including the most recent review conducted by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics - Bureau of Rural Sciences (ABARE-BRS) have supported the finding that snapper are likely overfished in Queensland.
While it is unlikely that snapper will be fished to the point where the stock collapses, significant ecological, economic and social impacts are likely if overfishing continues.
The options in the RIS were developed by Fisheries Queensland taking into consideration advice from a Stakeholder Network Working Group, which included representatives from the commercial, recreational and charter fishing sectors; tackle industry; and the seafood marketing sector.
For more information on the stock assessment:
- 2009 summary of snapper stock assessment
- Latest independent review (ABARE-BRS), October 2010 (PDF, 266 kB)
In addition to the review, an interim closure from 15 February to 31 March 2011 was put in place until new fishing rules were finalised.
The interim closure was an immediate action to reduce the fishing pressure on snapper.
The interim six-week closure applied to all Queensland east coast waters. During this time, snapper were off limits to all recreational, charter and commercial fishers and were not to be targeted. To effectively reduce fishing pressure, the closure also applied to the other main co-caught species of pearl perch and teraglin.