News release | 09-Feb-2017
New research shows there are two genetically different snapper stocks off the Australian east coast, where it was previously believed all snapper were part of a single stock.
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) scientist, Dr Jess Morgan, said this was the first project to use fine-scale sampling and highly variable genetic markers to measure the number of genetically distinct snapper stocks that occur off eastern Australia.
“Our research shows one snapper stock is found off the coast of Queensland and New South Wales and that a second, genetically different snapper stock is found from southern New South Wales south to Victoria and Tasmania,” Dr Morgan said.
“We found a high level of genetic mixing among sites in the northern stock, which is good news if a depletion occurs at a local level as the stock’s genetic diversity would still remain in neighbouring populations.”
Dr Morgan said the microsatellite data were analysed using a number of different methods, all of which confirmed the two distinct genetic stocks.
“The location of the boundary separating the genetic snapper stocks appears to have shifted further south since the mid-1990s when a different type of marker, allozymes, detected a genetic break north of Sydney.”
“Part of the challenge in assessing the sustainability of east coast snapper as a whole has been that different jurisdictions often take different approaches to assessment and use different criteria for defining stock status,” he said.
“This database will be particularly useful for Queensland and New South Wales as the data can be used to model the entire stock rather than each state doing their own modelling and stock status assessment.”
This research is part of the Inter-jurisdictional Snapper Management in Eastern Australia project funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian governments.
For more information about the project visit www.frdc.com.au
Media contact: Robyn Dowdle , 3087 8596