|tamure, kourea (Maori), sea bream, bream, schnapper, New Zealand golden snapper, brim, porgy (US), dorade (France), madai, goushyuumadai (Japan), cham dom (Korea)|
Snapper caught by longline and trawl were assessed, without significant difference. Both rank as red, worst choice seafood. We expect that these results will change in the future and we would recommend longline caught snapper over bottom trawl caught. However, alternatives include terakihi, trevally and kingfish.
A slow growing, long-lived (up to 60 years) member of the sea bream family, snapper is one of the largest and most valuable coastal fisheries in New Zealand. It is common around the North Island and upper South Island and is mainly caught by bottom longlining or trawling operations, generally at depths of 10-100 metres.
All snapper stocks have been historically overfished and some are still being overfished. None of the stocks are at the fishing management target (40% of the unfished biomass). A snapper management plan has been recently released for SNA 1 region (North Island east coast from East Cape to Cape Reinga) but since it was released no management action or restrictions have been put in place to help rebuild the snapper 1 region stocks. Snapper is caught using bottom trawling and longlining. Of concern for bottom trawl is the impacts to the seabed, sediment redistribution, risk of killing critically endangered Maui’s dolphins when fishing on the west coast of the North Island outside of restricted areas and other non-target fish bycatch. Of concern for longlining is seabird bycatch: in area 1 this includes the globally threatened black petrel. The longline fishing industry has been focused on taking action to reduce its seabird bycatch. Both fishing methods were assessed using the latest Ministry reports and different regions (stocks) were assessed. Regardless of region, both methods rank snapper as worst choice seafood. However, the latest Ministry reports don’t include the latest summer where the longline fishery is expected to have reduced its seabird bycatch. We expect snapper to rank differently depending on fishing method in the near future. While both fishing methods are ranked red, we would recommend longline caught snapper over bottom trawl caught.
Not certified under any scheme.
Japan is the single largest export market (around 50%), while Australia and Taiwan take around 30% between them. The export value of snapper was about $31.4 million in 2015.
Two snapper fishing methods – trawl and longline – were assessed for the Snapper 1 region (east coast of the North Island, Cape Reinga to East Cape). For all other snapper regions trawl was assessed. The results were not significantly different. All regions and both methods resulted in a red listing. The below commentary explains some of the differences and notes the recent action taken by longline vessels to avoid bycatch of seabirds in SNA 1 region.
|Score:||SNA 1 – E, other SNA areas – D|
|Population size:||Depleted in most areas.|
|Annual catch limit:||Limit set at 6,357 tonnes since 2005-06. The SNA 7 TACC was increased from 2016-17 year.|
|Recorded catch:||Reported landings of 6,232 tonnes in 2014-15, which is well under the peak catches of 17,500 tonnes in the late 1970s.|
|Stock trends:||All stocks appear to be increasing. However, SNA 8 (Kapiti Coast to Cape Reinga in the North) projections assume a level of recruitment higher than that observed in recent years and may not reach the legally required BMSY level for up to 60 years. The SNA 2 stock (East Cape to Wellington) assessment has not been updated since 2002.|
|MSY Status:||The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for snapper is estimated to be 20-23% of the unfished stock size (B0). This is unrealistically low and assumes there is no decline in recruitment as stocks decline. All stocks are likely below this legally required level.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||
SNA1 East Northland: SNA 1 was last assessed in 2013. “B2013 was estimated to be 24% B0; Very Unlikely (< 10%) to be at or above the [interim] target [40%Bo].” “Overfishing is Likely (>60%) to be occurring.”
auraki Gulf/Bay of Plenty: “B2013 was estimated to be 19% B0; Very Unlikely (< 10%) to be at or above the [interim] target [40%Bo].” “Overfishing is Likely (>60%) to be occurring.”
SNA 2: Last assessed in 2009. Stock in relation to interim target is unknown. “It is Likely that biomass would increase at current catch levels provided that recruitment is maintained at or above average levels.”
SNA 7: Last assessed in 2016. “B2014–15 was estimated to be 29% B0; Very Unlikely (< 10%) to be at or above the [interim] target [40%Bo]” and “overfishing is Unlikely (< 40%) to be occurring.” But: “The current and projected stock status is sensitive to the reliability of the estimate of the strength of the 2007 year class and the strength of subsequent recruitment, especially the 2010 year class.” “The magnitude of the 2007 year class is largely driven by the recent commercial trawl CPUE indices.”
SNA 8: Last assessed in 2005. “B2004 estimated to be 10% B0, Very Unlikely (< 10%) to be at or above the [interim] target [40%Bo].” “Recent catch-at-age sampling shows that the age structure in the fishery ….is held up in most years by only 4–5 dominant age classes with a negligible accumulation of biomass beyond 20 years. Given the current age structure the stock would be very vulnerable to recruitment failure extending more than 2–3 years in duration.” (MPI 2016, p237-239).
|Score:||All areas – D|
|Distribution:||Mainly in the warmer coastal waters of the northern North Island and the Bay of Plenty, but ranges to the north of the South Island.|
|Maximum age (years):||60|
|Age at sexual maturity:||3-4|
|Reproductive output:||Low to high|
|Ability to recover:||Low to moderate|
|Score:||Longline – C, trawl – E|
|Fishing method(s):||Bottom longlining, bottom trawling and some set netting.|
Trawl: There is considerable damage to seafloor communities when caught by bottom trawl or midwater trawl which touches the bottom. Impacts include habitat modification, loss of biodiversity, loss of benthic productivity, modification of important breeding and juvenile fish habitat and redistribution of sediment.
Longline: Minimal impact.
|Habitat of particular significance:|
|Bycatch:||Trawl: Non-threatened species bycatch includes other fish targeted in these fisheries.
Longline: Minimal non-threatened species bycatch.
|Ecological effects:||The combined effects of destroying seafloor habitats and non-target fish bycatch can have considerable ecological implications.|
|Score:||longline – E, trawl – D|
Longline: The bottom longline fishery is estimated to catch 706 birds annually, which includes cryptic mortality. Seabirds caught include flesh-footed shearwaters and globally-threatened black petrels (Abraham et al, 2016). Black petrels have the highest risk ranking of all seabirds in the current seabird risk assessment undertaken for the Ministry. While the current red listing for bottom longline is based on most recent bycatch assessment, this does not include the period where change in practices have been applied as they have yet to be assessed (Ministry reports have a time lag).
Trawl: Inshore trawl fisheries which include snapper have an estimated seabird bycatch of 4370 seabirds (this includes cryptic mortality of birds that strike the trawl warps and are not recovered in the nets). Species reported include white-capped albatross, Salvin’s albatross and white-chinned petrels. Fur seal captures have also been estimated in the inshore trawl fisheries at about 20 per year. There is also the risk of Maui and Hector’s dolphin captures in inshore trawl fisheries where endangered Hector’s dolphin and critically endangered Maui’s dolphin is found. This is especially the case where trawl fishing overlaps with the dolphins’ range outside of the closed areas.
|Score:||SNA 1 longline and trawl – C, other areas B|
|Management component:||Single species. While most stocks are managed separately, there are two distinct stocks managed as one (East Northland, Hauraki Gulf, and Bay of Plenty) and quota area boundaries which cross likely stock boundaries (e.g. SNA 7 and 8, and SNA 1 and SNA 2).|
|Score:||All areas – C|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 1986.|
|Management plan:||There is no approved inshore plan.|
|Stock assessment:||Quantitative stock assessments in all areas except QMA 3. However, SNA 8 was last assessed in 2005, SNA 2 in 2009, and SNA 1 in 2013. A new assessment for SNA 7 was done in 2015. Fishery-independent fish tagging surveying has not occurred since 1994 in SNA 1, 2002 in SNA 8, and 1987 in SNA 7.|
|Research:|| Snapper has had research in all of the main fishery, but important stock tagging surveys in
SNA 1, SNA 8 and SNA 7 have not been repeated since the 1990s.
|Observer coverage:||Observer coverage averaged 1.75% in the SNA 1 longline fishery and 1.47% in the trawl fishery. There was no observer coverage outside SNA 1 and the northern part of SNA 8. None of this coverage is likely to be spatially or temporally representative of the fishing effort.|