Fish of the Month is the authoritative source of consumer information on the sustainable consumption of seafood. Every month a New Zealand seafood species is showcased, featuring a ‘full 360ᵒ view’ of the species - flavour, texture, versatility, meal inspiration and nutrition information, together with information on how the species is managed and harvested.
Snapper is one of New Zealand’s largest and most valuable coastal fisheries. The commercial fishery, which developed last century, expanded in the 1970s and peaked in 1978 with the commercial catch estimated at 18,000 tonnes. By the mid 1980s catches had declined with some stocks showing signs of overfishing. Today, most of our snapper stocks appear to be stable or increasing.
Snapper were introduced into New Zealand’s Quota Management System (QMS) in 1986. The QMS sets catch limits that allow the sustainable use of the snapper resource based on stock assessments conducted by government and the fishing industry.
Commercial and recreational fishers are not allowed to take snapper that are shorter than 25cm to allow them to breed.
Snapper abundance is monitored using commercial catch rates and catch-at-age sampling. Assessments also use trawl survey information and abundance estimates from the recapture of tagged fish.
All stocks appear to be stable or increasing. However all stocks were substantially reduced prior to their entry into the QMS, and rebuilding of stocks in some areas appears to be slow.
Recreational harvest levels of snapper are uncertain historically but since the mid-2000s have been estimated using aerial surveys of recreational fishing.The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Large Scale Multi-Species survey of amateur catch will also provide new estimates of recreational harvest of snapper.
It has been suggested that juvenile snapper are dependent on sea grass beds. The impact of land use and land-based effects on coastal ecosystems including sea grass beds are being actively researched.
Snapper are caught by long lining, trawling and some set netting. While all these fishing methods have some impact on the environment, including accidental captures of sea birds and marine mammals, significant investment in special technology and improved fishing methods have been made by industry to successfully lessen the impact.
The information provided here is of a general nature and is intended as a guide only. Information such as availability and pricing is indicative only and is subject to change depending on variables such as weather, seasonal demand and retailer promotions. If you have any comments about the information provided please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org